The Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art (RIMOSA) seeks to kindle curiosity, encourage imaginative experimentation and provoke inter-group communication through open-ended and hands-on exhibits. Currently a “museum without walls”, RIMOSA has built and shown exhibits at outdoor festivals attracting large numbers of people – including AS220’s Foo Fest and Waterfire.
This winter, RIMOSA is partnering with Slater Mill and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services to bring interactive art/science installations to as many Rhode Islanders as possible. In this installation, RIMOSA’s hands-on exhibits will focus on the theme “Metamorphosis: Transfer of Energy”. Slater Mill, the birthplace of the industrial revolution in the US, is a wonderfully inspiring place for developing tactile exploration (gears, water, textiles, sound and movement). Yet currently, the only way to interact with the museum is through a two hour guided tour. RIMOSA’s exhibits, housed in Slater Mill’s gallery in the Pawtucket Visitor’s Center, will be inspired by the Mill and designed to encourage visitors to look at aspects of Slater Mill in new ways.
As part of this installation, RIMOSA is seeking funds to build an interactive gear table. This open-ended, hands-on kinetic sculpture will allow users to experiment with gears; how gears change one type of motion into another, how they fit together, how they change speed and so on. The sculpture will consist of a painted wood table, 3ft by 4ft, with a 2ft by 4ft vertical divider in the middle. Both horizontal and vertical planes on the table are covered with metal sheets, and a variety of cranks come off the sides. Each crank will be attached to a different fixed gear on either the horizontal or vertical plane. There are a few other fixed gears in place on each horizontal and vertical plane, not connected to cranks, as well as “transition gears” that transfer motion from the horizontal to the vertical. These “uncranked” fixed gears will have a “payoff” - additional interest to visitors aside from just turning other gears. These payoff gears will include a spinning cylinder with posts that strike a kalimba (metal keys that make the music in music boxes), spinning optical illusion discs (like Duchamp's Rotoreliefs), a whirlygig, and others.
In addition to the fixed gears, there will be a selection of colorful, custom molded plastic gears in three different sizes stuck randomly to the vertical and horizontal planes of the table by their short magnetic posts. Visitors can slide these colorful gears into position to form a geared chain to the payoff gear they wish to set in motion. This will allow them (by using different numbers and sizes of gears) to affect the efficiency and the direction of the spinning energy they create by turning the cranking station. Or they may simply slide these unfixed gears around the surfaces to build whatever assemblages they like, going from the horizontal to the vertical or staying in one plane or simply making aesthetically pleasing shapes or patterns.
After about two months at Slater Mill’s gallery, our installation will be taken apart and the modular exhibits will be sent individually to public libraries throughout the state for a few weeks at a time in each library. Both Slater Mill and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services have submitted letters of support for this proposal and will also be donating their space, rent free, as well as providing all advertising and marketing for this project.
Thank you so much for taking the time to learn more about our project. Please note that all the funds collected will go towards RIMOSA's Slater Mill installation. We are very excited about moving forward with your help! For more information, please check out our website and blog at http://www.rimosa.org/
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