One Hundred Compasses: a Video and Interview by Ellis Tschoepe

We are happy to introduce Ellis Tschoepe, a Mindport fan who was inspired to create a video and blog post based on his experiences with one of our exhibits.  Read/watch on for a neat explanation of some of the science at work and an interview with exhibit builder AnMorgan Curry.  Thanks, Ellis!

One Hundred Compasses features a magnet hanging over a bunch of compasses.  When you move the magnet, the compasses spin.  Click here to link to a video explaining some of the science behind the exhibit.

Q & A with Exhibit Builder and Art Director, AnMorgan Curry

What was your inspiration for the design of this exhibit?

My primary inspiration was playing with the compasses and a magnet and realizing how fun it was.  The design came out of my interest in things that turn, and my affection for lining things up and for grid patterns.

What was your favorite part of building the exhibit?

I always love to finish an exhibit!  But I also really enjoyed the process of lining the compasses up exactly.   I find repeated objects in perfect order pleasing, calming, and friendly.

Where did you get all those compasses? 

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, there is a store called Mad Max which is a favorite of artists.  They have all kinds of strange cast-off things – dentist chairs, pieces of computers, first-class dishes from American Airlines, miniature forks and spoons….  I went intending to buy the little porcelain airline dishes, but I when I was there I also found huge bins of glass vials and compasses.  I bought the vials and compasses – both of which turned out to be great for exhibits.

What is your favorite thing about magnets?

I like magnets because no one can tell you exactly and completely what’s going on with them.  I like the chaotic movement you get when you swing a magnet over compasses and knowing invisible forces are at work.

What sparked your interest in them?

I went to a small elementary school in Grand Forks, North Dakota where we did a third grade science unit on magnets.  The teacher had all the magnets in her desk, and she would hand them out and instruct us to do various tasks using them.  They seemed so fascinating and weird, but there was always a point to what we were doing, and we never got time to just play with them.  I told my mom how much I wanted to be able to play with the magnets, and one afternoon she came home with magnets, metal filings, and a baseball mitt.  A great day!  Looking back, that confirmed for me the pleasure of pursuing things that interest me – even if it’s not easy- and the fact that anybody can be interested in anything!