Jumbler is a kinetic sculpture which tumbles an assortment of glass marbles back and forth in a rotating plaster bowl. The movement is stately and paced, spinning back and forth in a steady rhythm of movements and pauses. The plaster surface of the bowl slowly disintegrates into a fine dust as the marbles roll and bounce. The sound is a gentle susurration as the mass of marbles accelerate and decelerate across the plaster surface. The machine showed in 2021 from September 11 to November 21 as part of “This Sacred Thing”, a group show at SPACE gallery in Pittsburgh, PA.
For Garth Zeglin, this ritualistic machine performance is part of an exploration into longevity and fragility. The slowly reciprocating tide of marbles reflects a pandemic sensibility of patient waiting, marking time slowly until some sense of normality can ebb back. A machine can exhibit extreme patience and imply a distant future. But the dust slowly accumulates as times passes, and the slow degradation will eventually require our care.
This course of this project was substantially affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Shortly after the grant period began in 2020 the show was delayed indefinitely and the original proposed work was put on hold. Instead, Garth began an open-ended exploration into techniques for making machines using fragile plaster components. This included studio techniques for CNC milling wax positives, silicone mold-making, plaster tinting, the integration of mechanism into cast plaster parts, and a method for troweling plaster directly onto 3D-printed plastic lath. The show was eventually rescheduled for September 2021 under new constraints, and the project concept evolved toward the final form.
This project was supported in part by funding from the Carnegie Mellon University Frank-Ratchye Fund For Art @ the Frontier full grant #2020-030.