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Ned Kahn, Kinetic Artist

December 30, 2009

The video below highlights the work of Ned Kahn, kinetic artist. Kahn graduated from college with an environmental studies degree, and from 1982 to 1996 he designed educational exhibits at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. He apprenticed there to Frank Oppenheimer, the center's founder and brother of atomic physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer.


"Dedicated to hands-on involvement, this landmark facility promotes ways to combine scientific knowledge and educational aims with technological expertise. Kahn, who flourished in this research-anddevelopment setting, began developing his ideas independently in the late 1980s – with substantial success. Kahn has received prestigious awards, including a 2003 MacArthur Fellowship and Cooper-Hewitt's 2004 National Design Award for Environmental Design. His background within a laboratory setting reinforced a methodology of collaboration and experimentation, as well as an empirical aesthetic of direct experience. 'Part of my philosophy,' Kahn says, 'is that in our culture, with its increased interest in computers and television and media – with the bombardment of mediated experiences - people have fewer and fewer opportunities to nurture their ability to observe and look closely. So my underlying goal is to create objects or places designed to encourage and nurture observation.' His faith in observation tends to conceal the mediation – the technical finesse and the high-tech materials – needed create illusions of direct experience. However, by emphasizing observation, Kahn affirms the practice common to both science and art: a reliance on experience as a vital component of knowledge." [1]



World's Largest Ceramic Sculpture

The Spanish group OHL has been commissioned to create the largest ceramic sculpture in the world at the Oran Convention Center in Algeria. The sculpture will be 19,685 x 11,614 ft. in size and includes ceramic tiles of various sizes.


laying tile


Lola and Héctor spread out a section of tiles on the floor.

convention centerSays Pedro Bastidas, one of the artists: "OHL, an international building company, proposed us the challenge. We entered into competition with other workshops, but our proposal was chosen by the constructor. Of course, we had to manufacture a sample (a huge one) to be approved by the Algerian Prime Minister. So he did and we started to work in November. I cant tell you about the cost of the work. I know you will understand this. It's a huge work with a huge price. This is not only the largest ceramic tile mural in the World, it will be the quicker too as long as we have only 2.5 months to finish it. This is our first international project for building. We have a good prestige in decorative pieces, but this is our first incursion in big dimensions work. Here is a link to a Home Accents Decor report, by Susan Dickenson, who visited us recently and wrote the story some days ago."

In the photo above right, you can see the center and a simulation of what the mural will look like when completed.

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