Art and Technology

Artocarpus Altilis - the breadfruit tree's leaf.  test shot - with a DSLR - taken just prior to the large format analog film exposure.
Electrified Flowers of Hawaii is a series of large format analog photographs I’ve made with a new technique of my own development,   using an extraordinarily intense triggered high voltage Marx generator producing 8 joule pulses at 240,000 volts (an instrument which I also designed and built). These photographs have the finest detail and largest field of view of any extant electrical photography technique.  Read more here.
The CNC bubble iris is an unprecedentedly capable instrument to create giant soap membranes where and when needed for a range of artistic, scientific, and engineering projects.
The CNC bubble iris is an unprecedentedly capable instrument to create giant soap membranes where and when needed for a range of artistic, scientific, and engineering projects.






Fanuc S-10 Robot Installation Art,  Gordon C. Kirkwood 2011.
Phalaenopsis Heliostat,  Gordon C. Kirkwood 2010.  A Fanuc S-10 Industrial Robot was programmed to hold a flowering Phalaenopsis orchid, and slowly move it to follow a sunbeam as the light moved over the course of the day.


Vortex Collider was an installation debuted at the International Children’s Art Gallery in Spring 2014, whose purpose is to collide vortex rings of fog.  The resulting fluid flow patterns are illuminated in cross section with a laser. It featured two such mechanisms as shown here, including automatic glycol-fog charging, motorized apertures capable of changing from 0.5″ to 4″ diameter, and 18″ subwoofers to propel the fog.  It was awarded an informal “Best of Show” by organizers of Art All Night 2014.  Parts of this build were published here.  Video below.





Gordon C. Kirkwood 2011.
WaterClock 1, Gordon C. Kirkwood 2010. A series of small water reservoirs are continuously refilled, and raised or lowered to effect changes in the rhythm with which three different dripping faucets issue water drops into a small pool carved in a monolithic tree trunk. Patterns are formed in the standing waves of water in the pool, and in the sound sequence of the drips falling.
Water Clock 1,  Detail of the laser light-beams which are used to detect water drops as they fall (for feedback control of their rhythm), and the dripping nozzles fabricated from copper tubing.
Waterclock base.
Water Clock 1, Gordon C. Kirkwood 2010. A monolithic tree trunk has a hollow carved in it’s upper surface, in which patterns of waves in water are created by controlled drippings of water from three different, laser-sensed, feedback controlled, fountains. Water drip rate for each fountain is controlled by automatically adjusting the height of reservoirs, seen visible in the background.
Gordon Kirkwood 2010
Water Clock 1, Gordon C. Kirkwood 2010. Waves are sustained by regular dripping of water in complex controlled rhythms from water dripping fountains around the perimeter of the pool. Laser beams criss-cross the surface of the water and detect each droplet as it falls, and a microcontroller adjusts the water pressure so subsequent drops come into synchronization or interesting rhythms.


vortex 1
A Vortex-ring launcher I built was featured in Jennifer Nagle-Myer’s 2014 production of “Translations” at Pittsburgh’s New Hazlett Theater.


4 thoughts on “Art and Technology”

    1. Peter, your machine is wonderful!! where was this exhibited?

      I hope we get a chance to meet sometime. It has been too long since I was in the Netherlands, though one branch of my family originated there. Is your machine currently being exhibited? What are you working on next? Give me a message if you find yourself in the US / bay area anytime soon, too!

      Best regards,

      Gordon Kirkwood.

  1. HI there,
    Discovery Canada has a crew heading to Bay Area this week and are looking for a fun and inventive story to shoot on Sat. Jan 27.
    Are you around and willing to show off your latest work?

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