Flight is a Waltz: Puppet Flutter (2017)

A collaboration between
Oliver Smart and
Dominic Harris

Artwork Dimensions:
600 (H) x 370 (Ø)
Excluding Plinth

Hand-milled brass, Acid-etched brass, Hand-blown borosilicate glass, Dyneema Composite Thread, Milled and Polished Aluminium, 3D printed rubber, Electro-magnetic actuators, Custom Control PCB, Bespoke Software, Ultrasonic sensors.
Requires 110-220v Power input

Edition: 1 + 2 AP

Exclusively available through Priveekollektie Contemporary Art | Design

Strong parallels can be drawn between the inquisitive investigations and reinterpretations within Dominic Harris’s work, and the design and performance aspects of Oliver Smart’s work. When these two artists and makers first met in 2014 they talked initially about their respective works interrogating nature and movement. What then transpired was the launch of one of the most ambitious collaboration either artist had ever undertaken.

The butterfly piece has been a unique and extraordinary journey of collaboration, prototyping, merging of technologies and techniques, and meticulous production. The desire to uncover the essential character of the butterfly in physical appearance and mechanical movement has been realised through a true labour of love. This essence of the artwork is not just the entire complexity of the study of this fascinating creature; indeed, it was the fascination in the process of uncovering, simplifying and abbreviating towards the essential movements and behaviours that defined the final artwork.

A natural synergy exists between the mechanical detail of the puppet and the exquisite clarity, attention to detail and form of the case and its concealed mechanics. Amidst the process of kinetically animating the exquisite butterfly puppet through programmed electro-mechanical drivers, a synthesised movement unfurled in which the movements were defined as a waltz: up, down, pause. This definition of the puppet butterfly as a study of “flight as a waltz” served as the underpinning mantra for the movement, which when coupled with the interaction control that permits the butterfly to interact engage with the viewer, conjures the delightful illusion that the butterfly really is alive!