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Singapore Airport Unveils the 'World's Largest Kinetic Art Sculpture'

Here's something to stare aimlessly at while your flight gets delayed: "Kinetic Rain," an entrancing metallic ballet that Singapore is billing as the "world's largest kinetic art sculpture."

The seemingly alive installation, composed of 1,216 bronze droplets attached to individual motorized pulleys, bobs and weaves in Terminal 1's departure hall at Changi Airport. While some examples of airline art look like they could've used more planning (the Oslo wang) or boldness (or less boldness, as is the case with Denver International's "evil robo-horse" and what-the-freak murals), this moving artwork is minimalism at its best.

Following orders from a computer program, the globules of "rain" flow like an ocean swell or undulate like a jellyfish's tentacles. They sometimes cohere unexpected aeronautic shapes, like an airplane, kite and hot-air balloon. Visitors are not encouraged to whack the metal globes against each other to stack a chain reaction, like those desktop office pendulums.

"Kinetic Rain" was designed by a team that includes Benjamin Maus, creator of this "perpetual storytelling apparatus," and artist Jussi Angesleva, who's done these sort of sculptures before. It took 10 months of planning to knock it out. And while I'm not sold on it qualifying as the "world's largest" sculpture of its kind – the Calder mobile at the National Gallery of Art is 76 feet long, and Olafur Eliasson's rotating ceiling-mirror at PS1 looks fairly big, too – it's largely fun to watch.

Here's the making-of video:

John Metcalfe is a staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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