Tuesday, August 24, 2010

#6: The George Rickey Kinetic Sculptures

So this one is kind of hard to describe, and it’s the best example yet of “you really just need to go see it.” These works of public art, by the South Bend-born artist George Rickey are scattered throughout the downtown area and are, in plain terms, 3-dimensional metal objects.  In slightly more complex terms, they are metal sculptures that respond to their environment.  As an example, one of these sculptures is made up of two metal rings that swing hypnotically at the slightest breeze.  They’ve been in residence here since the fall of 2009 and the exhibit was just extended through the end of 2010.

They add a sense of unexpected modernism to the city, and are visible (and free) at any day or time.  For extra points, complete the math and science walking tour of the sculptures that poses such questions as, “How does gravity affect this sculpture when it is still? When it is moving?” And in case you thought that one was easy, “If the diameter of each circle is represented by d, and the length of the line between the point of rotation and the edge of the circle is s, write an expression for the widest span that the sculpture can achieve from left to right.  Write an expression for the narrowest span the sculpture achieves.”

For those who want to prove they remember 8th grade Algebra or for those who just want to support the exciting work of a revered local artist, visit this website for locations, the math walking tour, and more information: http://www.cfsjc.org/Rickey/.

Best time to go: When the wind is blowing.

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