Home & Design

Feb 1, 2017


Life is movement… The eternal movement of the life cycle is the basis of our existence. The harmony of kinetic art, music, technology and design is ready to adorn your house with the meditative philosophical beauty.

The character of Greek mythology, Sisyphus, for committing a crime of treason, was compelled to push a rock to the top of a mountain, and whenever it was nearing the top, the stone rolled again downhill to the point by means of an irresistible force, completely invalidating the hard effort expended, repeating the action eternally, as can be seen in the work "The Myth of Sisyphus" by Albert Camus. Unlike him, you can enjoy the process by watching the ball roll through the sand creating and erasing dazzling patterns on the table of the kinetic table called "Sisyphus".

As a musical instrument plays songs, "Sisyphus" plays paths. You watch and meditate.

Basically, it looks like a common round coffee table. Under its glass top you'll find a thin layer of sand and a two-motor robot (the "Sisbot"), moving a magnet pulling a steel ball through the sand. The motors are controlled by a little computer which plays a set of path files, just like a music player playing an mp3 file. As soon as it is plugged in, it automatically loads a default playlist of paths and starts. The playback is controllable - one can choose tracks, speed of play, table lighting by means of a mobile app or by a browser to connect to "Sisyphus" with WiFi. We can say that, "what music brings to your ears, Sisyphus brings to your eyes".

So far, the creator of the "Sisyphus", Bruce Shapiro from California, United States, is the only composer for "Sisyphus paths", using a variety of vector-based programs with algorithmic approaches to create patterns. 25 years ago, Bruce quit his career of a doctor to enter the Motion Control industry – a computer-controlled movement in robotic applications, the technology that revolutionized industrial production and design, but until recently it was extremely expensive and complex. Some 25 years ago, the industrial giants discovered tools for mass producing floppy disks and sticky notes, and started to sell their automation equipment cheaply. Bruce, since childhood fascinated by engendering, music, and the idea of creating art with the help of computer-controlled machines, took advantage of the situation on the local industrial market that gave him access to extra expensive components available at cents. Since the yaers 1990, he has devoted himself to using motion control for making art and education tools, creating different pieces of metal, ribbons, sand, and even bubbles. Of all his works, "Sisyphus" stood out.

The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign is supporting Shapiro's artwork. «My goal with this "Kickstarter" is to get "Sisyphus" into people's homes for them to enjoy as both furniture and art, but also, to inspire a community of composers to write music for it», - confesses the artist. 

Three sizes of tables now available, prices at "Kickstarter" start from 670 dollars. One can choose from:

End Table: "Sisyphus" kinetic sculpture within two-foot diameter x 22" tall; tempered glass-topped metal table (the exact size may vary); stepper motor driven "Sisbot" mechanism; metal furniture with wood veneer options for top and sides - birch/maple, cherry, walnut, black.

Three-foot coffee table: Sisyphus kinetic sculpture within three-foot diameter x 18" tall; tempered glass-topped metal table, stepper motor driven "Sisbot" mechanism; metal furniture with wood veneer options for top and sides - birch/maple, cherry, walnut, black.

Hardwood 4' coffee table: "Sisyphus" kinetic sculpture within four-foot diameter x 18" tall, tempered glass-topped all wood table; brushless servo driven "Sisbot" mechanism, ApplePly base and choice of hardwood furniture - maple, walnut, padauk - all CNC machined (Computer Numeric Control) and hand finished.  All components including servo motors are made in the EUA, except the circuit boards.

Bruce Shapiro's works have appeared in different shows and exhibitions, and is permanently installed in the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

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