Someone should make a game about: Machine with Concrete

May 6, 2020
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Sometimes, there’s great delight to be found in the tedious. Arthur Ganson’s remarkable kinetic sculpture Machine with Concrete demonstrates that with playful aplomb.

Like all kinetic sculptures, Ganson’s work moves. It’s powered by a motor that spins at 200RPM. And yet, as much as it whirs away, it is also trapped in a moment of stillness, even literally. Machine with Concrete is actually a fairly simple mechanism, formed of 12 pairs of gears connected in a linear chain. One gear spins the next, which spins the next, and on it goes. So far, so uninspiring.

The thing is, thanks to some elegant gearing, while the motor inputs a 200RPM spin into the contraption, the final gear in the chain turns at (1/50)12. In other words, it will make one rotation every 2.3 trillion years. Often playful and even mischievous in his artworks, Ganson has set that final gear in a block of concrete, just in case anyone missed the fact that it spins very, very slowly.

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