Moiré Wheels: Kinetic Sculpture

Moiré Wheels (with Sequence I) at the Wichita Art Museum, 2008-2010

Central Overview:

Moiré Wheels is a concept developed for the two-year-long InterACTIVE kinetic installation at the Wichita Art Museum, Wichita KS which opened in Spring 2008. All 50 bicycle wheels were in constant motion, and their movement created an optical illusion related to the moiré phenomenom. The concept has since been used on individual freestanding kinetic sculptures.

Moiré (pr. more-ay or mwah-ray) can be illustrated by overlapping and rotating two pieces of window screen or loosely woven fabric. The congruence of lines and changing angles achieves a byproduct of visual movement. A real-world example is in the offset-printing industry, where tonal variations in a single printing plate have historically been achieved through the use of dot screening techniques. Overlapping multiple screens for multiple colors, as done in CMYK four-color process printing, necessitates knowing the proper angles for each color’s screen to minimize the moiré effect that can otherwise distract from the finished look of the print.

In the case of Moiré Wheels, the effect is accentuated by the rapidly changing angles of the parallel bands on the wheels. The component parts are polypropylene strapping (normally used for securing cardboard boxes for shipping) and motorized junk bicycle wheels.