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Cheap Party Decor Turned Into Mesmerizing Kinetic Art

Finally, here’s a good use for those horrible honeycomb paper decorations that sell for cents so you can decorate parties in the kitschiest way. In the new exhibit Fuchsia, Orange, and Royal Blue, Berlin-based media artist Nils Völker turns the paper decorations into kinetic sculptures that spin and fold and unfold in mesmerizing patterns.

Völker said in an email that he spent over year developing special motors that would power the honeycomb decorations, and worked with a Chinese manufacturer to customize the electronics. “The [motors] I’m using are so-called ‘combined stepper motors’ which are actually two independent motors; one has a hollow shaft and the shaft of the second one goes through the middle of the shaft of the first one,” he says. “Therefore you get both shafts turning perfectly around the same center.” That creates a smooth, silent experience so viewers aren’t distracted by any mechanical noise. He wanted people to be able to clearly listen to the sound of the paper cracking as the spheres open and close.

You can see the artwork live at MAD Gallery in Geneva, Switzerland.