Circular Wave Umbrella

by Ned Kahn




Turn the knob to make the umbrella spin. Watch the hole cut into the edge and you'll see that the umbrella is spinning faster than the waves traveling through it. A wave is essentially a traveling disturbance-a pulse of energy that moves through something. Here, the disturbance is caused by air trapped in the umbrella's folds. Over the ocean, moving air sets also sets waves in motion. A wind-generated wave pulses through the water, but doesn't actually drag the water along with it. If it did, all the water in all the oceans would have been delivered up onto the shore long ago.


Dimensions: Ø48 " x 9' 7" Weight: 250 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.