Top 5 Constraints: Automata

  1. Engineering + Time

I want to create an automata-mobile hybrid sculpture. This is going to have a number of engineering challenges. The first will be to create a successful automaton that uses a hand crank to create an up and down motion. The second challenge will be to create that mobiles that hang from the automata structure. To create a successful mobile there needs to be a lot of thought put into balancing all the hanging pieces. While I believe I can achieve this, I will be definitely constrained by the time it will take me to figure everything out.

                             Automata [1]                                              Alexander Calder Mobile [2]

2. Aesthetic

I am going with a delicate floral aesthetic. I am particularly drawing inspiration from Rebecca Louise Law who makes massive hanging sculptures out of dried wildflowers. Because this aesthetic is mostly focused on the flowers, I need to decide whether I should buy flowers from a grocery store and dry them, or if I should by dried flowers, or if I should buy fake flowers. This aesthetic also relies on the invisibility of support structures. To be successful in this, my automata structure that holds up the mobile of flowers will have strong enough to work as a stable support structure, but delicate enough to not draw unwanted attention or distract from the flowers. 

      Rebecca Louise Law Sculpture [3]

3. Size + Location

My envisioned design is an automata mobile hybrid. In my mind, I envision something pretty large, but I think for the scope of this project I want to make something that is approximately floor to ceiling height and is about a square meter in area. This will require a good bit of empty space in a room. I also know that the sculpture must be moved around, which means that I cannot rely on a wall to mount to. 

4. Usability + Durability

Because the automata will by user-powered it must be durable and intuitive. While I don’t want people walking through the hanging flower mobiles, I should take into account that this might happen, so the flowers should be somewhat durable. It is also important that the whole structure is durable enough to be transported without causing severe damage. 

5. Materials + Money

Because of durability and the fact that real dried flowers are very expensive and do not come in large quantities, I think that fake flowers would be the best way to achieve many of my constraints. For the automata structure I have to do more research, but I think I will end up using wood because it is sturdy and reasonably priced. I also like how wood somewhat goes with my natural aesthetic. As for the mobile structures, I will use clear fishing line to attach the flowers and either wooden or metal dowels to create the splits.

Work Cited




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2 Comments. Leave new

  • When you mention what type of flower you should use, I think fake flowers would be better. Real flowers (and dried ones) are very delicate. Fake flowers are typically cheaper, and you can get a wider range of colors. You will also be able to manipulate the structure without damaging the flowers and they wont wilt by the time we have presentations. I like the idea of using wood to create the structure because that will give it a natural look and will be sturdy as well. Balance and weight will be some interesting challenges to over come. Possibly calculating the weight of the flowers before will help you get a better understanding of what you need to create for the structure.


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