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Creating with... Ryan Buyssens

By Joanne Spataro
Correspondent

Kinetic artist Ryan Buyssens is on the move, just like his dynamic art pieces. Since receiving the 2012-13 North Carolina Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award, which includes a $10,000 grant, Buyssens has been working on a project best described as a living wheel. The UNC Charlotte lecturer and fabrication lab administrator hopes his moving pieces of art will inspire viewers to think about time and space.

Q. What are kinetic sculptures? They’re sculptures that are generally mechanical in some respect and move rather than sit still. They create a composition of movement. Rather than only three dimensions, I also work in the fourth dimension, which is time. I have the sculpture respond to time itself. It’s movement or possibly lights.

Q. When did you move toward kinetic art? (Back in school) I liked the challenge of mechanical stuff. I started as sculptor then I moved into video art. I got involved in kinetic art because the movie cameras I was using were far more interesting than some of the works I was making with them … . Some of the equipment would break down, and I’d have to figure out how to fix it myself. I started thinking about the mechanisms more than what images I could shoot.

Q. How do you approach your work? Some of the work I make can take me months if not years of design, figuring out how to put something together and constructing it and putting all the parts together. The end product … (should) be playful. I don’t like the end viewer to think how much toil it may have taken me to create it.

Q. What are you working on as part of your fellowship award? I’m working on kinetic sculptures that create animation. They’re similar to a device called a zoetrope. It literally means living wheel, but it’s a wheel from the 1800s that preceded the moving picture camera and movies themselves. It was a wheel that when somebody would spin it, they could look through a set of slits in the wheel and see the drawn animation moving on the inside. My pieces, due to the way I’ve approached it, are far more modern than that. The animations themselves are not moving images but moving objects.

Q. You also work with video art. How did you come up with “Blubbering”? I like to deal with time. (I) had access to a very expensive camera called the phantom camera and it takes somewhere around 3,000 or 4,000 pictures per second and then you could play that back at a rate (faster than a regular camera). My work always tries to relate to the moving image in some way. If it doesn’t have a reference to movies or video, such as the animation machine, it still deals with time.

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