Ned Kahn's art of harnessing natural elements and forces.
July 19, 2015
"The confluence of science and art has fascinated me throughout my career. For the last twenty years, I have developed a body of work inspired by atmospheric physics, geology, astronomy and fluid motion. I strive to create artworks that enable viewers to observe and interact with natural processes. I am less interested in creating an alternative reality than I am in capturing, through my art, the mysteriousness of the world around us.
My artworks frequently incorporate flowing water, fog, sand and light to create complex and continually changing systems. Many of these works can be seen as “observatories” in that they frame and enhance our perception of natural phenomena. I am intrigued with the way patterns can emerge when things flow. These patterns are not static objects, they are patterns of behavior – recurring themes in nature."
(Artwork Above) Rain Oculus - A large whirlpool forms inside a 70-foot diameter acrylic bowl and falls 2 stories to a pool below. The artwork, a collaboration with architect Moshe Safdie, functions as both a skylight and a rain collector. The rain water is recycled back to the whirlpool and also fills a canal that runs through the atrium. The pumps that direct water into the bowl are turned on and off a few times an hour so the whirlpool is always changing in shape and intensity. At peak flow rates there are 8000 gallons per minute falling through the atrium and 200 tons of water swirling around in the bowl. Extensive prototyping and engineering went into integrating the artwork into the structural and mechanical systems of the building