Monday, April 21, 2008

Celestial Flyways in Kansas City

Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park on the northeast corner of 12th & Walnut in Kansas City, MO has been undergoing a major renovation over the last year.

Replacing the "fountain" that looked like the aftermath of a terrorist attack on a plumbing supply shop, is an incredibly delightful surprise.

A public anaphoric clock concieved by Kansas City Art Institute graduate Laura DeAngelis.

"While researching her project she found James E. Morrison, a retired computer engineer in Delaware, who had created a Web site devoted to the astrolabe.

Seeing the chance to bring the wonders of the old tool to a wide audience, Morrison offered to collaborate with De Angelis on her project. They soon decided it would be more practical to create a simpler device called an anaphoric clock.

A precursor to the astrolabe, dating back some 2,000 years, the anaphoric clock plots the sky and the passage of time but with fewer moving parts. That would make it more practical for a public, interactive installation, which here will mean a hand-cranked mechanism to align the date and time with the stars above the park.

“This will be by far the biggest anaphoric clock that’s ever been made,” Morrison says."

Unfortunately, since this really cool public astronomical tool was placed smack dab in the middle of a major metropolitan area that is not IDA compliant, the chances of seeing the stars highlighted in the Celestial Flyways anaphoric clock from that location are non-existent.

But it's still a pretty cool piece of interactive public art.

Way cooler than the free, midnight-shower-house for goon-babbling psycho street-folk that it replaced.


Le Grand Lapin said...

Wow, that's spectacular. Now, if we could just see the sky.

Keri Oki said...

I have got to tap you for the history and sites of this city -- I'm a total dork about finding each little nook and cranny of the town and you seem to own the market on that.

Midtown Miscreant said...

"Way cooler than the free, midnight-shower-house for goon-babbling psycho street-folk that it replaced."

Ha! thats what I like about you, you are a people person. i'd plagarize that line if I could figure out some way to incorporate it in a post.

Nuke said...

That's pretty cool, thanks XO. More people would have USED the shower, but this is much classier, and more interesting to talk about!

May said...

wow, you don't hear the word astrolabe in a blog post... ever.

Back when I was a crazy over-achieving English student reading Chaucer, I thought I was going to read his Treatise on the Astrolabe to learn how & use one... Then I graduated and realized I wasn't a big enough dork for that, but now maybe I'll change my mind ;)

travel said...

It's really very attractive. My husband was a land surveyor who learned how to survey land from the stars. I never understood it but he said it was valid.

Xavier Onassis said...

keri - you can "tap me" anytime you like. :)

mm - glad you liked it! I'll be here all week.

may - yeah, you are much more likely to come across asstrolube on this site than astrolabe. Actually, there were 3 women admiring the new addition as I was taking my pictures and I thought one of them might have been you. But I just took a look at your profile again and you are way cuter. Wasn't you (in case you were wondering).

travel - well, if sailors could navigate by the stars I can see how you could survey land by the stars. Makes sense.

Thanks for stoppin' by, y'all.

James Morrison said...

The design and fabrication of the Celestial Flyways Anaphoric Star Disk is described at: