I chose to continue building technically upon my "finite state machine" involving rotating cams and conceptually on my "make a random" piece involving communication between two people.
"Hi, Hello, Hey"
...marks start of conversation. Working off metaphors of sound waves/communication waves, this object requires two people turning the cranks on either side to create the sine wave motion of the wooden sticks. A rhythm is sometimes reached, and sometimes not. The physical sensation of turning the crank and watching the sticks weave a wave is a simple but fully engaging experience. The sticks are not attached to the object, but rather float on the physics of their positions in the machine.
There are some technical issues I need to address with this piece. One is that the ball bearings of the top cam shaft are slightly misaligned, causing the crank to stick at times. This is a perfect example of how tricky it is to work with kinetics -- one fraction of a measurement off and the whole thing falls apart! Two is that the "hinge grid" only works in one direction (ah, stupid me!). Both conceptually and aesthetically, I believe it is important to not lock down the sticks with anything permanent --they should remain loose and free floating. Of course this is tricky to design. I have a couple ideas for how to address this "loose hinging" system technically, although it will be a complicated build.
The primary conceptual issue I need to address is what will be animated. I'm not convinced that they should be sticks. After all, the poetry in the piece is very much determined by what is making the waves -- for example, there is a great difference in the narratives behind sticks vs spoons vs fishing poles. I must think about this further. I am very happy with the motion of the wave, and there is more poetry in that motion than I am may be giving credit.