Inverse Upcycle Aesthetic: Pioneer Primitive Newton’s Cradle

Design and Aesthetic

For my upcycle project, I am making a Newton’s Cradle in the pioneer primitive aesthetic. This entails the design consisting of simple sticks for the frame, string or thin rope for the connections, and rocks for the collision balls. Knots and lashings will be used to connect and hold everything together, with the potential use of super glue if this is not sufficient. The appearance of the design should evoke the thought of wilderness survival shelters, frontierism, and so on.

Inverse Aesthetic

I would argue that an inverse of the Pioneer Primitive aesthetic should be one which prioritizes form over function, is modern or futuristic, has a bright color palette that does not occur in nature, and is almost maximalist. This is contrary to the pioneer primitive aesthetic in almost every aspect; form, color, material, philosophy, and time period. An aesthetic that I believe fits this would be digital futurism; characterized by its focus on electric colors and materials, sharp and complex yet orderly geometries, and most of all futuristic. For example, the image below is a good example of how digital futurism focuses on electronic components and appearances, with a combination of unnaturally bright and dark colors.

Adobe stock images digital futurism


If this aesthetic were to be used in my project, I would havbe to significantly alter the materials used. I am currently planning on using sticks, rock, and string to make my project. If I made it with digitial futurism, while I could simply paint the materials a different color, I do not think this would be adequate. Instead, I would use cardboard (or 3D printer filament if acceptable) to create jagged and unnatural geometries. I would paint this primarily black, with neon accents in thin lines which would resemble circuit board connections. If I could find them, I would use old LED strips to light up the model. I would use fishing line in an attempt to make the balls appear to be floating, or potentially magnets to make them actually hover, similarly to the levitation stand shown below.

Levitation Stand kit

Another aspect could be a recessed platform with LED lighting underneath, so there is an under glow effect and the model appears to levitate, similarly to the ASUS laptop shown below.

ASUS Gaming Laptop underglow (cringe)

Here are some AI generated concepts which may help to assist in visualizing this design with adherance to a digital futurism aesthetic:

DALL-E Canva Generated, me
DALL-E Canva Generated, me

While this aesthetic would certainly be interesting to experiment with, the materials and technology required to really do it well make it so that unfortunately it would be extremely challenging to do in the scope of an upcycling project. Additionally, I have already sourced all the materials for the upcycling project in the form of sticks, rocks, and string.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • This is an interesting take on the opposite look and feel of your chosen aesthetic. The levitation stand is definitely the opposite with the lack of a traditional frame and very futuristic design. I am also getting a vaporware feel looking at these things. Do you think a futuristic newtons cradle would be limited to these colors?

  • This is a interesting post, it was fun to read over your brainstorm about how the opposite primal newtons cradle would look like. I agree some sort of levitation effect would feel a lot like the opposite how the typical primal feel. A lot of what goes on with technology today is the minimalization of the use of wire and more into the wireless look. Do you like a futuristic newton’s cradle would implement the use of motion that isn’t linear like the typical newton’s cradle?


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