The Art Of Motion Control

"Ribbon Dancers"

Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines. Installed Nov. 2006.

brief video: 2M wmv


Made a road trip with my family, to install the new silk ribbons they helped me create:


people like them:



lots more time on the lift:



I have just returned from installing the Ribbon Dancers at the Science Center of Iowa, in Des Moines. Preliminary shots from the install:

Dueling lifts (the ceiling is ~50' above first floor).

Jeff is preparing some hardware.

After two days, everything is ready.

Guess we won't be using that path!

Tremendously capable help from Brian and Jeff.

Goodbye to that cantankerous lift.

Video-- 2:53, 8M wmv

Inspired by traditional chinese dance...

and sparked by an error while learning Flash,

(what I was actually trying to do)

arises the question--

Is it possible to explore this phenomenon with a simple two-axis system?


6' baton, 18' ribbon (5.7M wmv) / (1M wmv)

Tandem, 4' baton, 9' ribbons (4.6M wmv) / (1M wmv)

Video clips (wmv) of early stepper-driven prototypes:

first tries: 1.6M ; 1.9M | small: 1.1M

larger: 3.0M ;6.7M | tandem: 1.9M

larger: indoors (1.5M) ;outdoors (1.7M)


Servo-driven prototypes demonstrated at GEL 2005 conference in NYC, and Artbots, in Dublin, Ireland.

The Science Center of Iowa is moving to a new building in Des Moines, and I have been selected to do a large-scale project for their lobby -- two ribbon dancers, hanging from the ceiling, with baton length of 8-10':

(architect's rendering, and my model of dancers in the space)

SCI opened in May, '05. Installation is scheduled summer, '06.

A portion of my submission to the 2008 Olympics Landscape Sculpture Competition:

2:20 video, WMV, 7.5M

early project scrapbook