The Spatio-Lumino-Chronodynamic Towers & Sculptures of Nicolas Schöffer

Nicolas_SchöfferThe Spatiodynamic Luminodynamic & Chronodynamic works of Nicolas Schöffer

The Cybernetic works of Nicolas Schöffer revived elements of constructivism and kinetic art into a new syncretism using light as a binding ingredient. Seemingly dissatisfied with stasis in art, Schöffer explored the potential for creating dynamic variations of cubo-futurist and constructivist forms. The addition of a fourth-dimension of space-time to his sculptures allowed him to investigate what he termed Spatiodynamism, Luminodynamism and Chronodynamism.

Chronos 5 - Nicolas SchöfferChronos 5 – Nicolas Schöffer

La_Tour_cybernétique_de_LiègeLa Tour Cybernétique de Liège – Nicolas Schöffer

Echoing El Lissistsky’s ‘prouns’ defined as the midway point between architecture and painting, Schöffer would extend the scale of his sculptures to monumental proportions. His 52m high Cybernetic Tower in Liège, created in 1961, senses its immediate environment using microphones, hygrometers and anemometers (wind measurement). The information collected from these sensors is used orchestrate the movement of mirrors and lights on the towers, and also to generate environmental sounds to be played back to the city. Viewed at night time the mirrors act more as colour switches giving an overall impression of network interactions and connections inferred via pulsing colours. With nodes of interconnected light existing in a lattice perhaps Schöffer was attempting to mimic the invisible communication infrastructures that were developed during the 50′s and 60′s and who’s influence had grown to create the science of Cybernetics.

Chronos 5 - Nicolas SchöfferTour Lumière Cybernétique – Nicolas Schöffer

Unluckily for Planet Earth Schöffer’s plan for a subsequent tower to be constructed in Paris remains pure speculation – but at least we have some succulent drawings as a consolation. According to some sources Schöffer intended his Tour Lumière Cybernetique to stand 324m tall – the same height as the Eiffel Tower!

Centre Administratif & Centre de Recherches Scientifiques - Nicolas SchöfferCentre Administratif & Centre de Recherches Scientifiques – Nicolas Schöffer

chronos 8 - Nicolas_SchöfferChronos 8 – Nicolas Schöffer

Other works by Schöffer, such as Lux 13 Variations and Chronos 5 , transcend the domain of pure kineticism to exploit light reflections and shadows and their layered permutations and combinations – the essence of Schöffer’s concept of Luminodynamism. Nested cycles of movements create long sequences of unending variation – an early intimation of kind of proto-generative strategy.

Lux13_variations_Nicolas_SchöfferLux 13 Variations – Nicolas_Schöffer

This small post on Schöffer would be aberrant without a mention of László Moholy-Nagy’s masterpiece ‘Light Space Modulator’ an obvious reference point for the Spatio-Chronodynamic aspirations of Schöffer.

Related Posts:

The Constructivism Cosmologies of Richard Lippold
Luminous Light Scultptures – Alejandro & Moira Sina
László Moholy-Nagy’s Light Space Modulator

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