Seminar Series

Have we reached peak Wiggle?


Ph.D. Student Angus McGregor


Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury

Time & Place

Thu, 10 Feb 2022 14:00:09 NZDT in E6, Engineering Core


Over the last 25 years, the University of Canterbury has participated in the engineering design and construction of a number of Lye’s most ambitious sculptures, notably Big Blade (Shayne Gooch, New Plymouth), and Water Whirler (Stuart Robb / Angus McGregor, Wellington) and prototype work into Giant Blade (Tim Spencer) and Sun, Land and Sea (Alex O’Keefe) brings these visions closer to reality.
Typical engineering applications demand a high degree of stability and isolation from vibration. By contrast, climbing the resonance peaks to inducing ground shaking, powerful, large amplitude vibrations is a given for Len Lye’s kinetic artworks. Often, Lye’s plans exceed the ability of engineering materials to support the stresses and strains generated during a performance. If larger amplitude vibrations are desired, then design choices are effectively limited to decreasing stability, or modifying the clamping geometry.
When changes are made to an artwork, a balance must be struck between altering design parameters to suit engineering needs and ensuring the artistic intentions for the work are preserved. Using Greens functions solutions to a forced vibrations model of a vertical beam, a range of candidate geometries were investigated for their ability to maximise the vibratory amplitude, while retaining the aesthetic form of the original artwork.

Angus McGregor seminar

Supervisor: Associate Prof Shayne Gooch