Leborg defines activities as static visual reproductions. Static, refers to Kinetic art, or works of art in which movement, or the illusion of movement, is created using analog movement as an instrument. Some ways of achieving activity include: repetition, frequency/rhythm, mirroring, rotation, upscaling/downscaling, movement, path, direction, superodinate and subordinate movement, and displacement.

Repetition: creates activity through the repeating a common characteristic of objects throughout a composition. This can be form, size, color, direction, or texture.

Frequency/Rhythm: frequency is the distance between repeated objects. Rhythm is when the distance varies between repeated objects with given frequencies.

Mirroring: the symmetrical rendering of an object across an established axis. When mirroring against a volume, the reflection of the original object will become distorted due to the different angles of the reflected surface.

Rotation: the movement of an object around a rotation point. Rotation is either a circular or elliptical movement.

Upscaling/Downscaling: making objects larger or smaller while retaining their original proportions/dimensions.

Movement: in visual composition, movement is only representational—using the position of objects to suggest that forces may have influenced a change.

Path: the movement of an object along an imagined line, either straight of arced. Along this line, objects can rotate, swing, or move forward and backward. These are sub and superodinate activities.

Direction: the line that leads from the starting point of an objects movement to the presumed endpoint.

Displacement: the movement of only parts of an object. When the points or lines of the displaced object move in a specific direction they establish a direction of displacement.


The origins of Kinetic Art date back to the late 1800’s, early 1900’s, when brothers Antonie Pevsner and Naum Gabo applied the idea of motion in art in their Realistic Manifesto. Kinetic Art explores how things look when they move, and thus includes a wide range of art forms. However, in two-dimensional art, it is the illusion of movement which makes a piece Kinetic.

Interest sparked in the use of Kinetic art during the Dada and Constructivist movements. During this time, artists were “fascinated by the possibilities of movement in art and the potential to create interactive relationships and visual experiences that went beyond the boundaries of traditional, static objects” (

Creating the illusion of movement became a new way to expand the interaction between viewer and presenter. Kinetic art allowed the audience to have an experience and brought art out of the visual word and into the physical world. Kinetic art essentially paved the way for visual communicators by establishing tools which designers can use to develop a non-verbal language through images.


This piece by Paula Scher, done in the 1980’s, displaces repetition of form, direction and color. Triangles are repeated throughout the poster in different directions and colors, direction is repeated with the location of the typography, and the colors of blue, red and yellow are repeated throughout the poster among different objects.


Another poster from the Constructivist Movement, this work shows an example of upscaling and downscaling. In this poster, the black circle and smaller red circle, are scaled down proportionately from the largest red circle. This creates an illusion of movement, causing the viewer to wonder if the circles are advancing or receding.


A hallmark of Art Deco, rotation is used frequently throughout the art of this era. On the Invitation photo above, rotation is shown with the movement of the triangles around the central point of the circle.

Kinetic Art

Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, from 1913, is a famous piece of Kinetic Art. This sculpture creates both the illusion of movement, through the rotation of the spokes around the central point of the wheel, and actual movement which is created by the viewer physically spinning the wheel.


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