Campus & Community

Weekend kinetic art exhibit to display staffer’s passion

Paul Slater and Neil Breault – Mathematics Instructor at SouthTech Academy
Paul Slater (left) and Neil Breault, a mathematics instructor at SouthTech Academy High School, work on the Kinetic Art Project, on display this weekend in Boynton Beach.

Kinetic art has power, in this case, solar, wind and water power. Just ask Paul Slater, lab specialist for the Engineering Technology and Electrical Power Technology programs at Palm Beach State College. He’ll be happy to explain how art and science merge in this weekend’s International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium in Boynton Beach.

Kinetic art is a form of art that depends on movement for its effect. Slater, who is also an artist, enjoyed using his knowledge of renewable energy to contribute to the creation of the Kinetic Art Project, a prototype for a renewable energy generator to be featured at the event.

Kinetic Art Project concept drawing
Kinetic Art Project concept drawing

A collaborative effort, the project involved other artists as well as 38 students and nine teachers from SouthTech Academy High School, SouthTech Preparatory Middle School, and Boynton Beach Community High School. Together, the team welded, wired and soldered 400 pounds of upcycled materials like bicycle wheels, gears, cables, bearings and stainless steel paper towel dispensing machines into an artwork that delights as well as instructs.

“We’re using kinetic art to demonstrate sustainability and renewable energy in an aesthetically amusing way,” said Slater. “It just makes it fun for people to understand the technology and the reasons why we would want to conserve water or use a renewable energy source.”

The Kinetic Art Project creates a Rube Goldberg effect, in which a series of connecting objects move with the laws of gravity. For example, one action of an element will move water from a cistern through a solar pump and feed through a gravity system of tubes to move water wheels, which then water plants, representing the cleansing cycle of water in the environment.

Paul Slater
Paul Slater holds a robot in PBSC’s Engineering/Electrical Power Technology lab on the Palm Beach Gardens campus.

Following this weekend’s event, the team will continue to transform their prototype into a permanent kinetic art installation in Boynton Beach. It will also be a chance for Slater to continue his College outreach and encourage the students to consider STEAM careers, encompassing Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

“My hope is to reach potential students who might be interested in the Engineering Technology or Electrical Power Technology programs,” he added. “I push the concepts that we teach and show them that there’s a pathway toward advancement.”

The free event invites the public to experience scores of kinetic art pieces at more than a dozen indoor and outdoor locations near and along E. Ocean Avenue in Boynton Beach, between Seacrest Boulevard and Federal Highway. The Kinetic Art Project will be displayed in the Civic Center, 128 E. Ocean Ave. on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 5, from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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