Saturday Art: Kinetic Sculpture by Alice Aycock
(Pictures courtesy of gigi-NYC at flickr.com.)
The kinetic sculptures Alice Aycock has created include several on display in public spaces in New York City, including the above. She has created a particular sculpture that was inspired by Hanukkah, or the other rendering of the holiday, Chanukah, which is now being celebrated. As no commons picture is on file of the sculpture, I am linking it here, with a description below.
The shining candles that celebrate Hanukkah inspired artist Alice Aycock in her kinetic sculpture that challenges us to find sources and objects as it turns. This being a time of celebrating Hanukkah, it is enjoyable as well as timely to visit the spinning artwork.
Much of Aycock's sculpture refers to a "mindless force which I think of as a whirling that moves through the universe, almost like a vortex." The imagery of alchemy, Catholicism, and ancient rituals and mysteries, central to her work, associates technology with magic and mysticism. This chaotic power, both creative and destructive, inspired her series of spinning blade machines. Greased Lightning, a more benign evo- cation of the same theme, is composed of three spinning vortexes representing dreidels. the tops used in the Hebrew game of chance. As in the game, four Hebrew letters are painted on each of the vortexes. On the surface of the base a double pointed arrow aligns with a letter when a player stops the vortex from spininng. If properly operated, the vortexes stop when the arrows point to the proper sequence of letters, spelling the phrase "A Great Miracle Happened Here." But as Aycock explains, the miracle is impene- trable, and the chances of winning are nearly impossible. As with the forces of nature, the more we seek to control them, the more uncontrollable they are.
The Dreidel aspect is yet another allusion to the Hanukkah traditions. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, the effect of the spin draws us all into an experience that is joyous.