Sculpting waves in wood and time: Reuben Margolin at TED2012

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Photo: James Duncan Davidson


The Helix Wave, installed at the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Arkansas, opened in 2012.

Reuben Margolin is an artist and a kinetic sculptor. He likes working in his shop, listening to the rain. And he makes sculptures that move and sway — all operated by mechanical means. In one piece, he adds together four different sine waves and watches them interfere. Some of his designs hang from the ceiling, recreating the drop fall of a single drop of rain, or the spiral eddy that trails a paddle in a rafting trip. Another collaboration involves sine waves on strings attached to dancers.

Some stats from some of his pieces:

1) 800 2-liter soda bottles, 400 aluminum cans

2) A pair of helices, and 40 wooden slots.

3) Summer, spring, winter, fall, morning, noon, dusk, night.

Hearing Margolin speak is an extraordinary experience. He is measured, and careful, and deep, and the sound draws you into the waves of the artwork. See two of them in action in the videos above and below.


Nebula was installed in 2010 at the Hilton Anatole, Dallas, Texas.