Water Strider

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

This floating, plexiglas sculpture had a side-emitting (like neon) fiber-optic light system with a strobe light powered by a solar cell. (see images below) A marine battery stored the sun’s electric energy till nighttime when the Water-Strider bug blinked off/on like the famous lightning bug. Wave action articulated the legs and the wind moved the colored spinners in its “head.” The sculpture was designed to intrigue 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 salt air (corrosion) — an incredible 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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRcLjaaWp54