Home Chapter 12 Artist's applications of DC motors
Artist's applications of DC motors

The artist Bjoern Schulke has created a work that also listens and watches and surveillance issues are one major theme that Schulke explores in many of his works.



Planet Space Rover by Bjoern Schulke, 2004. Height 290 cm, working diameter 300cm.


Planet Space Rover is an autonomous observation system built for the garden. It uses fast turning DC motors which are powered by a solar energy system and the motors spin propellers which create enough force to allow the sculpture to turn slowly in its quest to observe others. Additional components are kinetic camera arms, a monitor that occasionally shows the viewer the surveillance system, a long wave scanner and a sound detector, which listens to humans who approach the work, have captured them. The finish on this work as well as the other pieces from Schulke. [5]

The artist/inventor Julien Maire has been creating emotionally moving cinematography for many years. He uses small DC motors in a unique way that allows him to bring motion into moving visual and sound montages. His work Demi Pas (yr) is about a day in the life of the artist, and features a series of inventive slides that are inserted into a custom made projector along with a rich sound track that helps to develop the narrative of the work. .


Demi Pas by Julien Maire. 1995-1998. The slide to the left allows the hand to move back and forth and the shadow of the artist is superimposed into the scene. A PIC Basic chip-programming platform was used to control the motors.


Julian Maire used a laser-cutting device to fashion the slide-like inserts, which he then placed in a fantastic and imaginative custom-built projector. As the work is performed, the artist lifts the slides from his tray and places them in the projector, one by one. These works are modern visitations on the ancient art of montage and shadow play. [6]

Gregory Barsamian is an artist who explores persistence of vision by using motors and specifically timed strobe lights to visually morph spinning objects from one shape to another.


Putti ( Helicopter Morphs into Angel) by Gregory Barsamian. 1991.


The lights are timed to create a cinematic experience, and the illusion of one object morphing into another is spectacular. This cinematic effect allows a helicopter to seemingly morph into Cherubim (angels). This work suggests a relationship between the religious iconography of flying saviors, angels, and our contemporary technological saviors, helicopters. Here, the human wings and body morph into the fuselage and propeller. [7]

The sound installation artist Shawn Decker uses motors and steel to fashion new sound environments. These pieces explore rhythmic patterns that are derived and inspired from natural processes.


Scratch Studies by Shawn Decker. 2000.Block Museum, Northwestern University.


These natural processes are simulated algorithmically within a microcontroller that sends pulses to the motor, which creates a seductive arrhythmic and ambient scratching sound environment. [8]

Decker’s computer algorithms investigate various natural patterns ranging from highly ordered to sporadic and disorganized. The patterns are based on processes as diverse as Brownian motion (the movement of particles in fluids), bird song rhythms and migratory patterns, and statistical studies of large populations.

The artists team PE Lang Zimoen have used many motors all running simulataneously to create complex and alluring sound and motion installations.

 Untitled by PE Lang Zimoen Size Variable


 Untitled by PE Lang Zimoen Size Variable