Following my last post, I then went back to the workshops and created a third iteration of the rig, continually focusing on just one finger. This was much more successful as the parts moved much smoother and bend just like the joints of a finger, where the tip of the finger can bend all the way down to touch the palm of the hand (the only problem being that it can also bend the other way too as if to touch the knuckle but this is something to be worked on). In this iteration I used steel instead of aluminium so it is harder to bend out of place. I also measured each of the three parts to the size of my own finger so it would be more accurate, and I adopted a batch production style where I used the tools in the workshop to create a set of parts for many fingers – not just a one-off – then took the parts to the next tool and so on, so I would end up with a few of the same parts that could each be tested using different methods of joining. The images below show the first finger I put together, the others are still in bits at the moment and will be used to try different joining methods.
The image above shows the process of making each joint for three fingers. To begin, I cut strips of metal 1.8cm wide. I then cut the length of two strips to the size of the three moving parts of a finger and punched two holes in each part, making sure they would align finding a centre point. I then rounded the edges of each part avoiding sharpness of the finger and labelled each finger e.g. Forefinger one = F1, Middle finger 3 = M3 so I could remember which part goes where.
My next step will be to make a fourth iteration using a different style of joining. My aim is to get one finger absolutely perfect and moving just like a real finger, I will then be able to produce a few of different sizes and eventually make a whole moving hand rig.
I suppose the question to ask here is for what reason am I making this? At first, it was an experiment to use a different style of animation – stop motion, and to make a rig that could be used for it. However, I feel as though this small experiment has taken on a life of it’s own in becoming a replica of an organic moving part. So far, the most satisfying part of this small project has been seeing the images of the latest finger attached to my own – i think the depiction of mechanic next to organic is quite striking and almost depicts what looks like a piece of medical apparatus in it’s brace-like quality. This reminds me of something I read just the other day in Marshall McLuhan’s ‘Understanding Media’. (p.310)
‘In England the movie theatre was originally called ‘The Bioscope because of it’s visual presentation of the actual movements of the forms of life’
‘The movie is the total realisation of the medieval idea of change in the form of an entertaining illusion.’
‘On film, the mechanical appears organic’
I believe that when moving image was first produced, it was in fact the merging of the mechanic and the organic that sparked the interest of so many. Watching Eadweard Muybridge’s capture the galloping horse set the trend for inquiry into how things move. Yet it has become clear to me that this is not so much the case anymore, instead of looking through the ‘bioscope’ into the natural world and our quenching our thirst for understanding how things move, we now look through the screen to an endless amount of entertainment divided into infinite genres with millions of images moving all the time on endless reels that merge into one another constantly – It seems as though it has become impossible to tell mechanical from organic, on or off screen.