Introduction: A Ancient Novel Work of Art

To build a artwork of for example a geese, a swan, a fish that looks to float above the surface, that may even look to swim in water, that would be made using eletronics, airship technology, painting skills, and others, to create something that is ancient, recognisable, and novel at the same time.

Sketches and drawings will be added, per step in a later phase.

Step 1: The Origin of the Idea

(Step 1)

While looking at the Weekend Knack (belgian magazine), this morning, at breakfast, I saw this picture, an advertisement for a company, and its rather beautiful. A geese flying above what looks like a wooden floor. And the picture remembered me of somethimg I had seen before, that bore little or no resemblance to this picture, except in one area. The picture on a Revell model kit, of a model plane floating above the surface. In both pictures an object was floating above a surface.

Step 2: From an Image to a Statue

(Step 2)
And I thought, why not do the same to a statue of a geese. Put magnets in it, so that it floats above the surface. This is nothing new, this behaviour of magnets has been described before, and there are several apliances in existence that use this behaviour.

Step 3: Nearly Extinct Species Begoming Alive Again

(Step 3)
Then I thought further, and perhaps that bronze statues are to heavy, they would require powerful magnets, which might make it more expensive. But then I thought of an artist, whose work I admire, and who has several bird and bird like models that are light enought to do this with.
His name is Brad Story. ( His existing work of art, and perhaps future work of art, are light enough to do this with. Then I also thought of Panamarenko (, and he might also have some existing desings and perhaps future works of art, where this could be used.
Both have uniqe works of art, and both use multiple skills to build and imagine them.

Current statues stand. But what if a 'statue' of a fyling geese, or other bird, insect, or even fish, e.g. catfish (Lucia Rapp Py-Daniel, she's an expert on Catfish, see the interview in an new scientist) would be addapted and build light enough to use the magnets with. This could allow to have a indoor 'statue', of a group of birds, perhaps a group of fish, that float over the surface. That hangs in mid air, without anything attached to it.

Step 4: Emotion and Movement Being Added

(Step 4)
Taken a step further, electronics could be added, so that instead of a motionless 'statue', the 'statue' also has motion. Wings, claws, etc. E.g. the Pico-Java chip from Sun; kits and parts of
( ; new interfaces ( batteries and solarcells could al be used.

Step 5: An Aqaurium Different of All Others

(Step 5)

Taken still a step further, I can imagine a space, where in the floor there are several magnets, so that there is no single space where there is not a magnet, and where there is not the effect that the magnets give. Then with the example of fish, the tank could be filled with water, and the fish in it. If there would be then electronics inside the fish, and the fish would be heavy enough, then it could give the idea of fish swimming in the water. The motion of a fish tail has and is as far as I'm aware of it still the subject of scientific and engineering research. So adding it to this 'statue' should not pose to much of a difficulty.

Step 6: A Possible Setup

(Step 6)

It could then be much more than just a work of art. It could be used, to show children extint fish in a new alive way, to show them rare species without endangering those species. It could allow for exhibitions to travel the world, to show people those extint species.

Step 7: A Statue Coming to Life

(Step 7)

If adapted even more, the 'statues' could also be placed at the outside. When combined with robotics, they would be more than just motionless floating 'statues', they would almost give the feeling/vision of being alive, without actaully being.

Step 8: The 'statues' and the Models of a Working Work of Art Combined Into One

(Steps 8)

Airship technology and knowledge could be added, e.g. internal helium tanks, to allow for a kind of buyoancy, as opposed to the water/airtanks used in submarines. Of course a combination of both could be used, depending on what the model needs to do. But they should not do exactley the same and on the same scale as the magnets. The 'statues' could be placed inside a tank filled with water, but nobody says that they have to. Concrete could be used as a building material, as could many others. A example would be, to build a outershell of ecoconcrete or another form of concrete, of a spaceship design, and to put it outside, letting it float. There are many possiblities with this idea.

Step 9: Notes

(Step 9 is yahoo group) See the full post at

The step have been added to give you an idea how I get from the initial image to the end idea. Normally I don't add them, as this is completly natural to me, but i thought it could be useful.

You will notice that I put the word Statue(s) between quotes. The reason is that this might not be 'statues' in the usual sense of the word. But its the best word I could think of. The closest match would be those mechanic animals built in the renaisance and afterwards.

Does anyone have an idea what one would call this 'thing' ? This 'statue' ? Is it art ?


Scurl! (author)2006-08-17

it would be called, likely, an "electromagnetically driven automaton" once the motion was introduced.

Floris Vermeir (author)Scurl!2007-07-31

sorry for the way to late replay, and the missing images, from what i've read about it, part of the matematics of it have already being worked out, but it was for plates. Like the other oen it comes from a blog I still have but most isn't visbel with all expermential art ideas, like a working working of art, the idea to built minaiture spacehips that would be as functional as possible. But I'll try to add more drawings to this one, and the other one.

Scurl! (author)Scurl!2006-08-17

i'm envisioning a sort of moving diorama, electromagnets above (hidden in clouds) and below (under the ground) and also possibly behind the backdrop so as to give a full range of motion across the scene. try pond with dragonfly.

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