Gadgets galore at Ganson lecture

Category:  The Arts
Thursday, April 11th, 2019 at 8:51 AM
Gadgets galore at Ganson lecture by Amber Chisholm
Photo: Amber Chisholm

Arthur Ganson, a kinetic sculptor with over 40 years of experience, delivered a lecture called “Surviving as a Misfit” on Thursday, April 4, in room 107A of Compton Hall. The lecture covered his artistic and professional life, along with the subject of invention. 

Invited by the Edinboro University Visiting Artist and Speaker Committee (VAS), Ganson took the opportunity to educate the audience with pictures and videos of his work, which also included several animations, idea sketches and more.  

Ganson explained how he’s been “in love with the way things move” since early childhood. A memory he described as “kind of a silly story,” and one where this interest formed and grew, was him watching balls of toilet paper move around in the bowl. 

He would grow up and actually start college as a pre-medical studies major, where he originally planned to become a surgeon one day. But, the self-described introvert eventually began to find his own voice in sculptures.

He admits that he never was interested in engineering, but his childhood experiences informed and guided him in this direction. “I went to art school, but I didn’t study engineering formally, so that has evolved very gradually over time,” he said.

He also has some experience with puppetry. This would extend into human figure building and manipulation. One piece has a head moving forward and backwards. He would also create a machine with 16 buttons that could move the same number of sections and a doll head that watched a ball move.

He has also worked with insects, with his first piece being a small car powered by four house flies, not surprisingly called “Fly Car.” He mentioned that it wasn’t very successful.

Creating both manual and electronic animation machines are more accomplishments of his.  

Ganson shared three main parts of his identity. He listed surgeon and programmer, along with the need to express innermost feelings. He considers both how a piece moves and what it says when thinking of his work. 

Each of his examples, to which there were occasional chuckles at their peculiar nature, were shown on screen and reflected the significant amount of time and thought put into them.

“This is insane!” somebody in the crowd whispered at one point.

He hopes that those in attendance can take away “a new insight about their own personal process” from this event. 

This happened for Shawn Brown, a junior computer science major, as he plans to take what was shared into consideration and try different methods over the “straight and narrow” ways [he is] used to. Brown noted that Ganson’s ways of looking at things are “abstract and unusual,” and that they “deviate from the norm” and are interesting.

Student Phoebe Dillon introduced the speaker.

Eye and mind-catching, more of Ganson’s work can be seen on his website,

Amber Chisholm |

View Our YouTube Channel
Edinboro TV
Find Us on Instagram