Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Gravitram kinetic sculptures of Shab Levy

The Gravitram sculptures of Shab Levy
In 1973, Shab Levy and his colleague George Hohnstein made the first Gravitram -- a combination of the words "gravity" and "tramway". He went on to create many more Gravitrams, the latest a joint effort with his son, was completed in 2010. Shown here is the Gravitram commissioned by the Weitzmann Institute of Science, in Rehovot, Israel. Here's a 3 minute video of this amazing machine in action.

Shab Levy on his various Gravitrams:
The largest ball that I used was 6 inches in diameter and the smallest less than one inch. Some of the Gravitrams that were created in my studio were made from 3/16" stainless steel track, using balls that are between 2-4 inches made of hard plastic. Some Gravitrams were musical. In one Gravitram, 25 feet long and less than 2 feet deep, the tracks were made of hardwood. Another Gravitram used copper troughs in which water flowed and tripped various devices. The largest and most complex Gravitram was built for a museum in Brazil in 1995. It is approximately 15' tall and 12' in diameter and is controlled by the visitor through a computer console allowing different gates and tricks to operate according to the visitor’s input.

See many more of Shab Levy's Gravitrams on his web site.

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