“We are evolutionary machines, all of us, who tend to take a lot of credit for things way beyond our control,” says Jeff Lieberman. It’s an interesting thought—but then, Jeff Lieberman is not your average math geek.
As well as holding four degrees from M.I.T. (two Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics and Physics and two Master of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Media Arts & Sciences), he’s also the host of the Discovery Channel series Time Warp. He’s a photographer, musician and composer (he’s one half of the electronic music duo Gloobic), as well as an actor and music video director. And when he’s not doing all that, he travels the world constructing technological sculptures that explore the connections between art and science, perception and reality. His most recent project, the Absolut Quartet, which he created with Daniel Paluska, was commissioned by Absolut Vodka. A multi-instrumental music-making machine that’s currently on display at the Arts Electronica in Austria, the Quartet is essentially three robotic musicians, with the online viewer becoming the fourth.
So when his friend Jordan Moore got married a few years ago, Lieberman didn’t go online to buy some cookware. Instead, he created a kinetic sculpture designed specifically for Moore and his wife, Emilie. Called Moore Pattern, it plays on both the groom’s surname and the term moiré pattern, a type of interference pattern that’s named for a fabric with a ripple weave. A moiré pattern is created when two patterns are overlaid—for example when two grids are overlaid at an angle.
In the case of Moore Pattern, the moiré pattern is generated by two overlaid, die-cut aluminum disks that rotate continuously in opposite directions. Seen from a distance, it looks like one shape that’s moving in a mechanically impossible way, a sort of pulsating metal flower. If that sounds weird, it’s not—in motion Moore Pattern is incredibly soothing and meditative.
“I love the idea of taking two of the same shape, placing one in exact mirror-image of the other, and putting them together to form something new that neither could ever have achieved on its own,” Lieberman says of the work. “This is, in some sense, what marriage is all about—the sum is greater than the parts.”
Of course, “video is worth 10,000 words here,” Lieberman acknowledges. You can view Moore Pattern here, in the video Liberman created for Kickstand, a funding platform for creative projects. We highly recommend that you have a look. So far, it’s been so popular that he’s exceeded the funds he asked for. Check it out and see why for yourself.