Harsh Mistress

Robert A Heinlein was influential on a whole generation. His “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” is generally considered one of his best works. This piece is my interpretation of the main locations in the novel. The Mass Driver is highlighted by a series of brass loops, while six other key locations are indicated by LEDs. An Arduino micro-controller flashes the mass driver to indicate a launch sequence, and the location names are Morse-encoded.

The Mare Crisium area is modelled to scale in all dimensions. The only aspect that is not to scale is the Mass Driver. Luna’s short horizon is obvious, as the perimeter dorsa are at or below the centre of the mare. Colouring of the mare features is subject to artistic license. The specific locations highlighted are a best guess based on multiple readings of the source materials.

Published by

Joseph Federer

Combining a lifelong fascination with lighting, moving art, and woodworking, photo-kinetic and thermo-kinetic sculptures provide an outlet for innovative combinations of art, machinery, electronics, and fun!

Photo-kinetic art is that which combines sculptural elements based on reality, usually from NASA sources, with LED lighting representing speculative possibilities of those locations. These may be based on fiction, natural phenomena, or flights of fancy. Some sculptures are static, but may incorporate other features such as Lithophanes or being touch-friendly.

Thermo-kinetic sculptures are those which have moving components responding to environmental inputs. Some are activated by temperature or humidity changes directly affecting parameters of sculptural components. Others may incorporate electronics to magnify natural effects.

With over 15 years’ experience making fine violins, the necessary attention to detail contributes to the quality of work in all my artistic and sculptural works. In addition, experience building a large custom home, a dedicated wood-working shop, and various other structures, ensures that my sculptures, particularly the thermo-kinetic ones, are structurally sound.

The core principals of my work are: to use an appropriate mix of natural and synthetic materials and processes to illustrate an idea or principal; to use science and space-related source materials; and to explore ideas which may be considered unconventional. In the immortal words of Calvin and Hobbes, “Let’s go exploring!”

This artwork is copyright © Joseph Federer. All rights reserved.