The Art Of Motion Control

Pipedream II:

In September of 2000, I received an email from a physician who resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He had been visiting the Twin Cities with his family, and had stopped at the Science Museum. They loved Pipedream I, and he wondered if I would be interested in the possibility of creating a similar work for the Science Station-- a rapidly expanding science museum in Cedar Rapids. Further discussions and contacts led to the commissioning of Pipedream II. Several months and five road trips later, I completed the sculpture's installation in the lobby of the newly constructed McLeod/ Busse IMAX Theater lobby, at the Science Station, in March of 2001.

While the Science Stations' board had been amenable to the idea of duplicating the design and function of Pipedream I, we agreed that I should attempt innovations. Toward this end, I changed the design in three major ways:

  1. Number of tubes-- doubled (to 32), while decreasing their diameter.
  2. Color-- ever since installing Pipedream I, people had asked me whether I had considered coloring the fluid. I had. But the technical problems, at the time, seemed too steep. Now, I set myself on this task, which, after lengthy and numerous experiments, yielded a practical (and beautiful) solution-- glitter.
  3. Interactivity-- Pipedream I's failed keyboard saga haunted me. This time I would keep my input device out from under the public's feet! Using optical sensors embedded in the railing, Pipedream II is fully interactive, and the interaction is manageable.

Pipedream II has had no maintenance problems to date.

A few shots of Pipedream II's development:

From real to virtual.

From virtual to real.

Initial testing and programming.

View from outside, after closing time.