Centre for Architecture Theory Criticism History
School of Architecture

Figures of Motion and Forms of Laughter: reflecting on the sculpture of Len Lye from the discipline of Architecture

  • Kate Linzey
Project Timeframe: 2008-

Kate's thesis explores the kinetic sculptures of artist Len Lye (1901-1980). Lye defined his sculpture in terms of 'figures of motion': the unique gestural signature of energy-as-movement which expressed how 'one thing becomes different from other things'. Such gestures are the life-signs, Lye argued, from which any form, such as a building, is the historical after-life. The thesis will come to argue that laughter is an important 'figure of motion' in Lye's work, one which is both the best of life (in terms of Lye's philosophy of Individual Happiness Now) and the most elusive to built form.

Related Publications: 
  • Linzey, Kate  “Kinetic New York: Len Lye’s Windwand Cluster & Jean Tinguely’s Homage.” Tinguely Centre, Basel, 2013. [oral presentation awaiting publication]

  • Linzey, Kate  “Systems of Others: User/occupant in the Pepsi Pavilion and Environment Design.” In Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, 1–12. Brisbane: SAHANZ, 2011. 

  • Linzey, Kate “Theme-Park Utopia: Len Lye, Allan Temko and Coney Island.” In Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, 214–19. Newcastle: SAHANZ, 2010.

  • Linzey, Kate  “Reflective Interiors: The Pepsi Pavilion and the Tower of the Sun.” Interstices : Unsettled Containers 12 (2010).

  • Linzey, Kate  “Len Lye’s Tangible Motion Sculpture: Ritual Monuments and Monumental Rituals.” In Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. Auckland: SAHANZ, 2009.

  • Linzey, Kate. “Art in the City: Len Lye’s Water Whirler.” In Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, 297– 302. Perth: SAHANZ, 2006.