No more gazing into the bottom of your coffee cup – now it’s time to focus on the coffee table. Bruce Shapiro has invented something so beautiful, so mesmerising, it’s difficult to take your eyes off it.
The Sisyphus table is an unusual, but truly striking premise. A metal ball rolls around inside a stylish glass-top table filled with sand, painting stunning patterns in front of you while guided by music. Bruce has dedicated the past 25 years to exploring motion control as a medium for artistic expression, with his computer controlled kinetic art installations found in museums in Switzerland, Germany, US, Canada, Poland and Australia. But now these amazing pieces are also available for the home.
Below a fine layer of sand is a two-motor robot named, the Sisbot. It controls a magnet that pulls the metal ball along a programmed path. The metal-base Sisyphus tables feature stepper motors, while the wood-base tables boast servo motors, quieter and more precise at higher speeds, making them better suited for the larger sizes.
The Sisyphus comes with a standard list of more than 25 tracks. It has no on/off switch, but when you plug it in it automatically calibrates itself, loads the default list of tracks, and begins playing. If you want to control the playlist, you can use any web browser and Wi-Fi connection to select favourite tracks, create custom lists, pause or change the speed and dim the table lighting. You can also download tracks shared by others online, or create your own Sisyphus tracks using popular drawing programs like Adobe Illustrator and send the saved files to your table.
It’s not cheap, nor should it be. This is a musical piece of art on legs. And amazing at that.
A big thanks to Bruce for letting us share his video. See more of his work at http://www.taomc.com/