Kinetic sculptures have come a long way since Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel. From U-Ram Choe’s blooming lotuses to Joachim Sauter’s levitating silver spheres, kinetic sculptures are evolving into experiential installations that are breathtaking in their mechanics, aesthetics, and scale.
Enter Landscape Abbreviated, an installation by Nova Jiang that pushes kinetic sculpture to the next level. Interested in the way that simple interventions can make spatial experiences unpredictable, Jiang created a maze that consists of rotating planters, forming a garden that is simultaneously a machine. The planters are controlled by software that generates new maze patterns based on mathematical rules. They rotate to form shifting pathways that encourage viewers to change direction as they move through the piece. The garden, however, isn’t growing just any kind of flora—the planters contain live moss collected from cracks in the pavement, the sides of buildings, subway grates, and other areas of New York City’s urban landscape.
Jiang envisions her sculpture “…not as a classical labyrinth built to ensnare, but rather as an architectural abbreviation of grand ideas.” Not only does Landscape Abbreviated relate to architecture and landscape, but it is representative of mathematical beauty, literature, and the rigor of software programming.
Landscape Abbreviated is on view at Wave Hill until August 19.
Photographs courtesy of Nova Jiang.