Rolling-ball exhibition — a first for PMB

2007-12-06 00:00

Pietermaritzburg’s first rolling-ball sculpture exhibition is currently on display at the Natal Museum in Jabu Ndlovu Street.

The exhibition, by rolling-ball machine designer Zotha Shange of Pietermaritzburg opened on

Monday and will run until December 14. The exhibition is sponsored by the museum to accompany its traditional December creative arts and crafts workshop.

During the exhibition Shange will be demonstrating how he designs, constructs and finishes his kinetic art.

Rolling-ball sculptures are known as kinetic sculptures (sculptures that have movement). They feature suspended tracks along which balls roll, switch tracks, flick through loops, spirals, cross or drop through drawbridges, or transfer the travelling energy to other balls, using a variety of ingenious mechanisms.

Shange’s sculptures, some reaching a metre or more in height and length, are constructed on a framework of copper piping. Tracks, and their support arms for the rolling giant glass and steel marbles, are constructed out of three-millimetre copper-plated mild steel rods.

Shange put his first sculptures on show at the museum as part of its celebration of Heritage Day in September. Because of public interest, the museum asked him to mount an exhibition for this month.

He started working on the sculptures after seeing the film Fracture in which an engineer designs and studies rolling-ball sculptures for relaxation. Shange was fascinated and began to research the concept and experiment with it.

In Europe and North America, kinetic sculptures are becoming very popular and several museums of kinetic sculpture have already been established. The MTN Science Centre in Cape Town recently commissioned a large “musical” rolling-ball sculpture with balls striking bells, cymbals, tubes and xylophone keys in their path.

Contact details

For further information, contact Viranna Frank or Peter Croeser at the Natal Museum at 033 345 1404 or Zotha Shange at 072 339 0706.

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