During the ’60s, visionaries Buckminister Fuller and Ron Resch thought up and built intuitive geometric models based on principles of folding efficiency and synergy. These iconic kinetic sculptures are embodied through the notion of ‘tensegrity’. A portmanteau of tensional-integrity, the architectural term refers to the tensile and compressive forces that act on naturally designed and evolving structures. Fuller’s iconic jitterbug inspired design scientists such as Arthur Loeb and H.F Verheyen to create and classify a family of such expanding-contracting structures, known as ‘dipolygonoids’. These handheld transformations delight through movement. Their regularity, symmetry, and binary alternating interconnectivity are fascinating nested alterations to regular Platonic and Archimedean solids. Furthermore, their rotational translation embeds them in one another. These polyhedron models continue to inspire artists and scientists alike, with practical applications in biochemistry, space architecture, and crystallography.
Kinetic art that requires handheld interactions allow for a more personal conceptual experience. ‘Jitterbug Transformations: Graphic Conceptual Models’ builds on Fuller and Loeb’s work of dipolygonoid models with this in mind. I make novel explorations of analog illusion and moving-image techniques on these structures, considering materiality and appropriate symbolism. Motion graphics here are inherent in the structures themselves, as opposed to being digital projections. Since dipolygonoids require time to expand and contract, they allow for any concept that requires rotational symmetry as ripe grounds for visualization, be it lunar and solar cycles, image sequences, or optical patterns. The viewer’s deliberate action allows for the potential animation to actuate. Using tools of radial and grid lines, regular polygons, and cut out animation, I aim to stimulate ideas such as the holographic principle, converging moire patterns, and the interconnectedness of atomic through cosmic scales of reality. The underlying theme of this work illustrates that strength can be found through rigidity and stability but also by a kinetic ability to sway and adapt.
Prithvi Dev is an artist based in Bangalore who works at the intersection of visual art, design, and photography. He studied industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 2015. After a stint as a designer in New York, and various places in India, he shifted focus to conceptual art. He enjoys learning and his interests include physics, ecology, poetry, teaching, and traveling. Unusual questions, varied exposure and clear thinking in his practice give new perspectives into established concepts. Though the outcome is artistic, not utilitarian or scientific, Prithvi uses an iterative creative process to break down inspiration and build up new aesthetics. He has exhibited at the Nature Lab Gallery and Woods Gerry Gallery in Providence, and at a group show in Tribeca, New York. You can find his work at www.prithvidev.com, and instagram @pano_rana.