Growing Objects - 3D printed zoetropes

nervous system(United States)

Category : ART
By nervous system(United States)

Growing Objects – 3D printed zoetropes

Growing Objects is a series of kinetic sculptures that illustrate natural growth processes. Inspired by 19th century zoetropes, these interactive sculptures consist of 3D printed objects that when spun and illuminated animate the development of complex forms; when still, they allow the viewer to examine each step of the growth process.

Our zoetropes reimagine the earliest ancestors of modern day cinema and animation: the phenokistoscope, zoetrope and praxinoscope. We’re fascinated by these devices because they are fundamentally interactive and participatory, enabling the viewer to deconstruct the animation process. We are adapting this kinetic apparatus to illustrate and explain our algorithmic art process via 3D printing.


Growing Objects includes 4 zoetropes, each of which use 3D-printed to materialize our algorithmic growth processes as physically animated sculptures. The Reaction and Hyphae zoetropes use Selective Laser Sintering and are printed in nylon.

The Florescence zoetrope uses full color plaster 3D-printing. And the Laplacian zoetrope was 3D-printed on our Makerbot and Ultimaker printers in black ABS. The sculptures for Laplacian and Florescence are assembled on lasercut acrylic discs. All are presented in enclosed boxes made of lasercut MDF components.

Stroboscopic lighting is accomplished with LED's mounted in the roof of the MDF enclosures on a circuit triggered by a magnetic reed switch. Each frame of the animation has a magnet mounted under it.


Creative director
Jessica Rosenkrantz
Chief science officer
Jesse Louis-Rosenberg


  • Luke Yeung

    Luke Yeung

    Luke Yeung
    Principal of Architectkidd

    The beauty of this project is that it uses relatively simple means to achieve an outcome that allows us to perceive the natural beauty of things. The project uses the automation found in the 3D printer, along with the repetitive geometry of the circular form, all brought together to life by the visual animation of full-stop photography. Together all these processes are sequenced to form a kind a choreography. The project reminds us that technologies can connect us back to understanding something on growth and form, the most biological of processes.

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