Slow Dance - A Frame that Slows Down Time

Posted: August 23, 2016
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Imagine a club in Vegas. A go-go dancer. Strobe lights. It's a spectacle of stop motion animation, the fluidity of movement altered by the way the flashes of light play with your eyes. Now scale that scene way down and bring it to your living room. And replace the go-go dancer with a feather or a flower (sorry) clipped to an electromagnet. Tweak the strobes too. Speed them up so fast that you can't even tell they're blinking, and sync them with the high-speed vibrations of the clipped object. Then sit back and watch the Slow Dance.

Slow Dance is an optical illusion and a piece of art. Creator Jeff Lieberman builds the framed sculptures to hold real items--feather, flowers, leaves, small branches, your empty snack-size Doritos bag--and make them appear to move in slow motion. Here's a GIF, but you'll get a better sense of, and more mesmerized by, it watching the above video.

Slow Dance's 2" pine wood frame surrounds a pedestal with an electromagnet, two springs, and two clips that can hold two different objects in the frame. Recessed LED lighting and a control center on the bottom of the piece provide the optics, the latter containing both a brightness knob and a mode button. Modes will cycle the Slow Dance through different patterns, from slow and smooth to energetic, making the object inside look like it's jumping through space.

Slow Dance strobe lights blink at 80 times per second to trick your eyes and activate a phenomenon called persistence of vision. TV does the same thing, flickering frozen images fast enough that we absorb them as continuous motion. Slow Dance further varies its lights' timing to generate your choice of slow, double vision, and jumpy effects.

If you want a piece of swaying art for your home or office, check out the Slow Dance Kickstarter page, and make a pledge by September 14, 2016.

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