The Oculizer is the second collaborative effort between Eric Gold, Brian Gold and Steve Gray. Collaboration is rewarding—although a mix of fun and frustrating. It is very unusual for three highly independent artists to be able to pull off such a cooperative effort. Equally in charge, each artist brought their own strength of design and creativity to the process. Every detail was carefully planned and considered as to how it related and supported the overall design, entailing a lot of trial and experimentation. The result? Each artist’s creations interact with the others seamlessly, producing an interactive, optical, mechanical sculpture. This vertical design packs a lot of whimsy into a small space, including a little whistle powered by compressed air and a pencil sharpener turned by the main axle.
The Gold brothers were responsible for the main framework holding the mechanics together, the chain and sprocket drive train powering all of the axles and many of the fun mechanical items. Steve Gray contributed optics, woodwork, the two mirror system and varied components that interact with the kaleidoscopic image.
The pierced steel armature holding many of the components together sits on top of a wooden base made of Koa, Wenge, and Walnut. The base has four portals. Each portal has a different surprise for the viewer—gauges, crystals or minerals, illuminated or magnified!
Used to transfer motion from wheel to wheel, and wheel to lever, magnets enable a seemingly chaotic and random motion. They are also used to hold the optical lenses to the eyepiece. Different strengths of magnifier and reducer lenses are assembled together in groups that can be layered over the viewing window and interact with the internal kaleidoscopic image.
The mirror system has two converging mirrors. Four openings allow introduction of other elements into the kaleidoscopic image. A chain drive and sprockets power various axles and these axles move items in and out of the image. Simply turning the crank on the right side of the sculpture puts wheels and magnets and pistons and gears into motion. Levers and cams and liquid-filled lampwork glass image cells rotate and turn—all in a fascination and delight for the eye. The viewer becomes a participant, come, lend your motive force to this kinetic creation!