Kinetic Artist Joseph Herscher stopped by to show us a bit of his work: elaborate Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions born of a refreshing combination of theatrical whimsy, resourcefulness and ingenuity.
In his early twenties Herscher rediscovered a childhood passion for making machines that made his life simpler, but in the most convoluted way and out of the most ordinary materials.
At this rediscovery he spent seven months building a contraption that spanned his entire apartment, in which marbles, string, plastic cups, fire and toilet paper rolls interact precisely along a 3 minute obstacle course, and culminate in a hammer smashing an egg. Not knowing what else to do with it, Herscher filmed the thing in action and posted it on YouTube.
“Crème that Egg” soon racked up 3 million views, encouraging him to keep going, building more andmore complex machines. Soon came the workshops with kids, participation in the Venice Biennale and a feature in the New York Times.
While Herscher makes it look easy, in practice he says he spends only two percent of his time coming up with ideas. The rest of his time he devotes to his process, which he sums up as simply: play, trial and error and perseverance. Solutions come to him as he tinkers, testing and failing repeatedly with different materials and sequences.
Herscher's tenacity is our reward, as he skillfully achieves humor, suspense and surprise in a chain reaction of mere household items, reminding viewers of how the awesome can often come of simply reimagining the everyday.
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