Water calligraphy device by Nicholas Hanna

Published on June 21, 2012

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Media Artist Nicholas Hanna built a tricycle that can also paint Chinese characters on the ground as it moves, just — because. Water Calligraphy has a long history in China, normally characterized by older Chinese men painting characters on the ground of parks with long brushes and water.  Nicholas’ version is a wee bit more complicated. The device is mounted on a flat-bead tricycle which is a ubiquitous form of transportation in Beijing. Passages of Chinese characters are input to a computer. Custom software on the computer processes the characters and transmits them to an electrical system that actuates an array of solenoid valves. The valves release droplets of water on the ground as the tricycle moves forward, thus forming Chinese characters that slowly pool together and eventually evaporate entirely.

Nicholas Hanna

 

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