These Kinetic Sculptures are Like Beautiful Nightmares

By Maddie Stone on at

These mesmerising GIFs are, quite literally, the stuff of nightmares. Strange, lovely nightmares.

They're snippets of scenes fromĀ re-belief, a zoetropic short film created by Raymond McCarthy Bergeron, a graduate student at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Each GIF depicts a sculpture that McCarthy Bergeron designed using the animation software Autodesk Maya, 3D-printed in one or more pieces, and hand-assembled. The sculptures were then filmed at 24 frames per second, mimicking the shutter slit speed that historical zoetropes used to create some of the world's very first motion graphics.

These Kinetic Sculptures are Like Beautiful Nightmares

Giving one's heart away.

McCarthy Bergeron describes the film, which is comprised of nine 3D-printed kinetic sculptures, as a personal recounting of memories that repeatedly haunted him growing up. The sculptures have a dark tone, but as McCarthy Bergeron explains, the story they build is one of cycles, and has as much to do with rediscovering joy as coping with dark moments:

Ultimately, the story thread focuses on cycles, and choosing 3D printed zoetropes as the metaphor and medium within a short film seemed perfect to share a story about childhood, religion and relationships. After all, 'Zoe' translates as 'life' and 'trope' is a reoccurring motif. 3D Printing, handcrafting and manufacturing these zoetropes are physical representations that impart a physicality within this film.

re-belief is currently making its way through festivals and is slated for full release later this year.

These Kinetic Sculptures are Like Beautiful NightmaresCrumbling foundations.

These Kinetic Sculptures are Like Beautiful Nightmares

There are always more fish in the sea.

You can check out the film's trailer, in all its creepily enchanting glory, on McCarthy Bergeron's website.

Top image: Mechanical heart that beats to a rhythm determined by the speed the zoetrope is spun.