Crow flight patterns are echoed at a thirtieth of a second to create a loopable waveform that corresponds to a tone. The waveform was measured at 27 crows across one tenth of a second. The animation plays at 12fps (2.25 seconds per 27 birds) and is 22.5 times slower than the rate of the comparable frequency. The median crow waveform was “tuned” to D4 and from there, the other crow waveforms were measured. Different wave shapes (sine, saw) were loosely based on flight pattern shape, which was a result of the speed of the crow and the angle and proximity of the crow to the camera.
Every element of motion has been completely mechanized, from the beating wings to the flaring tail. Intricate systems of linkages and cams bring the sculpture to life with a continuous flow of meticulously timed articulations. As each mechanism has been linked to the next, Colibri cycles through its complete range of motions by the simple turn of a crank. This project took me roughly 700 hours and contains about 400 parts.
72 year old artist Bob Potts uses hand-crafted gears, cranks and chains at his workshop – a 19th century barn in upstate New York – to create wonderful kinetic sculptures mimicking the flight of birds and insects and the swimming motions of fish.
The finished pieces are assembled in collaboration with his friend, painter and sculptor George Rhoads.