Secret switches

For my final project, I want to expand upon some of the sculptural pieces that I have made in the past by introducing a kinetic element. Here’s an example of a piece that I completed before school, wouldn’t it be even cooler if it had secret moving components?!?!


By designing a piece that has kinetic functions,  I will have to consider the form as both visual and physical. I plan to use a combination of found objects and materials, as well as fabricated ones.

The sculpture will encompass one or more hidden switches that only reveal themselves once the user begins to participate with the object.

One idea that I had was a secret compartment that holds small balls, or confetti that releases the goodies into a vessel below once the circuit has been completed. I believe that I can achieve this using a solenoid which is an electromagnet that can be pushed and pulled in opposite directions, effectively opening and closing the trap door.

Here’s a piece of interactive design by designer Ben Light… check ‘n chew. The user has to check into a specific restaurant using Foursquare in order to get a gumball!

The creative label Laikingland has some amazing examples of kinetic sculpture. Take a look and get inspired!

I will also try to incorporate some movement that does not involve power or a micro-controller to invite the user to begin exploring the piece. Here’s an example of some kientic movement using wind. It’s a video I shot in Iceland of a mountain peak on the side of a building created by using thousands of paillettes. The video’s not great quality, but the music sort of makes up for it.

Also… just came across this awesome scale by fumiko schaub, this example is not so much about secret switches, but I love the interaction and exploratory element about it- the moving parts and supporting components. 

One thought on “Secret switches”

  1. Can’t wait to see this come together, it sounds super cool. Since this a tutorial project, you’ll want to think about what parts of it would benefit others to learn– the solenoid releasing colorful balls or confetti sounds like a good place to start. Please start building and bring in-progress components to class on Tuesday.

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