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Wave Generator
1975
12ft. x 20ft. x 5ft.


"He [Norman Tuck] cranks up one piece [Wave Generator], setting huge, oarlike wands flopping from a pivot point, and begins with a standard explanation: 'Different things have resonant frequency depending on their length and width and strength.' But soon enough, the sculpture takes over: It will 'tell you about resonant frequency' itself, he says. As he continues to crank the oars wave and wriggle, he narrates their grounded journey through space. Each oar continues to flop, but at some point, seems to achieve equilibrium. 'Finally it seems happy, and it's reached its resonant frequency. It likes to be there.' The scientific theory seems like mumbo-Jumbo, but who can't understand this kind of intuitive definition?" Judy Arginteanu, The St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"...[The] "Wave Generator" piece shows how one wave can move twice as fast as the one next to it, a phenomenon bodysurfers will appreciate." Delcie Leimbach, The New York Times.

"...Wave Generator suggests the movements of water without actually incorporating any. Another viewer-activated piece, it consists of four long, slender, tapered slabs of lumber whose large ends are attached to another free-standing, hand-cranked apparatus. When the crank is turned, these wood slabs move up and down in sequence to create a series of wave like motions." Tom Patterson, The Winston-Salem Journal.




Wave Generator

Detailed Explaination
Cranking the stainless steel handle causes four long pieces of spruce to oscillate at different frequencies. Each of the four slats pass through its own resonant frequency as the cranking accelerates.
At certain speeds, each bar will pass through a period of resonance. You will recognize this because the bars seem to oscillate harmoniously rather than inertly or erratically.
The gearing makes each bar move at a different vibration rate: each bar on the right moves twice as fast as the one to its left. The different cranks make each bar move up and down with a different amplitude: each bar on the left moves twice as far as the one to the right of it.
Resonance is a common natural phenomenon. Put energy into an object at just the right frequency and it is likely to resonate. Objects that are made of elastic materials vibrate in a way that is governed by their shapes. Objects that dissipate energy through friction (a bowl of sand, a lump of clay) do not resonate well.

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