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Water Strider

Kinetic sculpture using solar, wind, and wave energy (1994-1996)

This 8-ft.long, floating, plexiglas sculpture had a side-emitting (like neon) fiber-optic light system with a strobe light powered by a solar cell. A marine battery stored the sun’s electric energy till nighttime when the Water-Strider blinked off/on like the intriguing lightning bug. Wave action articulated the legs and the wind moved the colored spinners in its “head.” The sculpture was designed to attract and spark a public conversation about renewable energy sources.

A concept sketch for Water-Strider was submitted as one of the designs in ASCI’s “Water Sculpture Project” presentation for seeking funding. It was for a temporary, public art installation of five artists’ kinetic, aquatic sculptures in South Cove at Battery Park City, NYC. When funding was not found, I decided to fund and teach myself about float mechanisms, fiber-optic lighting systems, and materials that withstand UV-sunlight and saltwater/salt air (corrosion). It was an inspired learning experience!

ocean, open-water test in Key Biscayne Harbor with Miami in background

“Water Striders are Smart” is an incredible, close-up video that captures the fascinating skills (re: walking on water) and life of water strider insects; produced by scientist Chris Egnoto; Sep.13, 2018; 09:53-minutes.