Art of the Motor

Eli Whitney Museum

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2018 Summer Program

100 years ago, New Haven’s A.C. Gilbert introduced small electric motors to young experimenters. Motors became the heart that animated Erector Set constructions. Large electric motors had begun to power elevators, trolleys and factories. Gilbert’s small motors inspired a whole new world of invention. Artists like Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp. Charles & Ray Eames all made their art move.

Master motors. Control the speed, direction, and shape of their movement. Build artful machines. Spend a day exploring each of the senses. Construct a machine that will draw for you. Construct a machine that will drum or hum or rattle and then join other machines for an orchestral performance. Construct a machine that will make micro puppets dance. Construct a machine that will fool your eyes. Construct a machine whose purpose has not yet been imagined.

Begin each day with practical lessons and exercises. Spend each afternoon inventing new ways to twist and refine your work.

Play is the highest form of research. Albert Einstein

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