Chaotic Pendulum

by Ned Kahn

It's easy to predict the motion of a single pendulum. The motion of this large pendulum is more complex because it has smaller pendulums attached to it. Each of these pendulums influences the motions of the others, making the overall motion chaotic and unpredictable.

If you could start the pendulums swinging exactly the same way each time, they would always do exactly the same thing. But tiny differences in the way you start them can add up to drastic changes in their later motions. This extreme sensitivity to starting conditions is a characteristic of chaotic systems.


Dimensions: 52" x 71" x 20" Weight: 500 lbs.

Artist's Comments: The confluence of science and art has fascinated me throughout my career. For the last fifteen years, I have developed a body of work inspired by atmospheric physics, geology, astronomy, and fluid motion. I strive to create artworks that enable viewers to observe and interact with natural processes. I am less interested in creating an alternative reality than I am in capturing, through my art, the mysteriousness of the world around us.

My artworks frequently incorporate flowing water, fog, sand, 
and light to create complex and continually changing systems. 
Many of these works can be seen as "observatories" in that they 
frame and enhance our perception of natural phenomena. I am 
intrigued with the way patterns can emerge when things flow. 
These patterns are not static objects, they are patterns of 
behavior-recurring themes in the repertoire of nature.