The monsters keep dancing in my head is a study and exploration of a number of things - a study of the phenomenon of persistence of vision - the process that allows static images, played at a specific speed to take on animated qualities (for those more scientific purists - phi phenomenon and beta movement.) It’s a first attempt for me at working with gears and the transfer of motion, and it’s a look into 3d printing technology and prototyping/manufacturing - allowing us to take the ideas in our head and massage them into existence - including the design, design improvement and prototyping processes.
In thinking on this project, I was struck by the thought that most 3d printing projects fall into (very generically speaking) one of two categories - either utilitarian (gears, replacement parts, fixes to an issue) or tchotchkes (reproducing pop items like your favorite star wars figurine, or 3d printing a vase or lampshade) part of this is undoubtedly, that like all new technologies, until we figure out what we’re doing, we do what we know. I find in my situation, the one thing I want to do and cant, is prototype things - I'll have a great idea, but no feasible way to produce it or check its validity as a functional design. This project - part tchotchke, part utilitarian - was designed to stretch not only my artist and design chops, but to stretch my prototyping/fabrication knowledge. The laws of physics, the available print area on desktop 3d printers, and over-all visual esthetics were central design considerations used when creating this project.
In its completed state "the Monsters" is a 3D persistence of motion sculpture, featuring a hand crank driven wheel with 12 three-dimensional sculptures mounted to it, each posed in a position that makes up 1/12th of a dance animation loop. The wheel is buried inside a 3D sculpture of my head, the model of which was created with 123D catch, then edited to support the internal wheel and drive mechanisms. To operate, a user turns the external crank - when the proper speed is reached (the equivalent of between 12 and 24 fps, depending on how smooth you want the animation to appear.) POV takes over and it stops looking like a spinning wheel, and becomes a dozen monsters dancing in place around on the surface of my head.
Step 1: Are you sure you know what you're doing?
The import and trial of the wheel worked so well, I had to stamp an arrow shaped hole in the disk to make sure i was actually seeing the rotation. While at it, I added a mat shaped like the outline of the human head to see a better simulation of what would happen if we focused the viewers attention by blocking out a number of the statues.