Kinetic Round Table

Korean artist Choe U-Ram’s kinetic installation is mesmerizing.

Round Table is supported on the backs of 18 slouching, headless figures made from fake straw, which rise and lower from the knees as a head on top of the table rolls with them. The artist set the figures in a perpetual struggle with the head – to obtain it for themselves, and to keep it from rolling off. Above, three black birds rotate leisurely from the ceiling, gazing down as if waiting for a loser to emerge from the battle.

Choe U-Ram is an architect of what he calls “anima-machines,” inventive robotic sculptures with lifelike movements controlled by computerized motors. Choe said he took precise measures to make sure the ball rarely drops off the table. A camera, attached to the ceiling, keeps track of the head’s location on the table and sends signals to a computer which then decides where the ball should roll next.

The piece is part of a larger exhibition at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea, on through February, 2023. Read more in this review in the Korea JoongAng Daily .

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