Former automotive engineer Robert Spillner has designed and built the Art Machine, which sits somewhere between static eye candy and looped video. The kinetic art device can be hung on a wall and displays a continuous, never-ending flowing image that has the look of weather patterns on some strange planet or a swirling galaxy in full flow.

Within a tasteful aluminum frame are two acrylic discs with a fluid developed by Spillner inbetween. This fluid is a mix of aerospace industry dye and some secret sauce particles that results in a fluid that "will never be mixed completely" so all the patterns retain their definition. Spillner says he's had one running for over a thousand hours with no degradation of the optical effect.

Two brushless electric motors rotate the discs once every minute or up to 10 times per minute, which is reported to cause continuous flow turbulence inside the chamber. This moves the dye/particle mix faster at the outer edge than at the center, and other worldly patterns are formed out front. The effect is quite mesmerizing.

"The great visual effect of the Art Machine is caused by the different color of dye and particles, so there are areas of darkness and brightness inside the chamber," Spillner told us. "The mixing of dye and particles is never complete, because the rotation is stopped after some seconds ( e-motors stopped). After the stop of rotation, the particles fall down (sedimentation), and the loop starts again."

The 945 mm (37 in) in diameter and 65 mm (2.6 in) thick Art Machine tips the scales at 15 kg (33 lb) and can be seen doing its thing in the video below. And if you like what you see, it's available for US$6,250.

As to what inspired the artist to create the device – "the truth is, I can't paint, so I invented a machine to do the job," said Spillner. "For me it's like a closed 'universe' which mixes molecules until something nice occurs."

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