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An installation view of the complete design of Measuring Angst before the bottle is drawn and quartered. (photo by the author for Hyperallergic)

LOS ANGELES — I’ve never thrown a beer bottle across a room but I’ve definitely seen one break. The pieces shatter and scatter, and like a laundry detergent commercial, I wish I could just hit the rewind button and see it all come back together.

Brooklyn-based artist Jonathan Schipper taps into this desire with a slow-moving installation called Measuring Angst, which he says was inspired by watching a beer bottle thrown across a room. Over the course of 12 minutes, a series of rotating robotic arms break and then reassemble a single beer bottle in a samsaric cycle of birth and rebirth.

In an interview with Co.Design, he described three iterative designs, starting with a spring and pulley that soon evolved into a brake system powered by Microsoft’s Visual Basic and a motion programming set developed by Peter Norton (yes, that Norton).

The work continues Schipper’s fascination with visualizing entropy, from Slow Inevitable Death of America Muscle, a mesmerizing slow motion car crash, to Slow Rooma living room ever so slowly pulled into a hole over the course of a month. But what gives the beer bottle piece an additional oomph is the idea that maybe things could go back to the way they were  until they’re broken into pieces once more.

ars electronica: measuring angst from Fabian Mohr on Vimeo.

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An Xiao

Artist An Xiao (aka An Xiao Mina) photographs, films, installs, performs and tweets and has shown her work in publications and galleries internationally. Find her online at @anxiaostudio...

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