The Cartoon Laws of Physics
Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.
Daffy Duck steps off a cliff, expecting further pastureland. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to look down. At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.
Any body in motion will tend to remain in motion until solid matter intervenes suddenly.
Whether shot from a cannon or in hot pursuit on foot, cartoon characters are so absolute in their momentum that only a telephone pole or an outsize boulder retards their forward motion absolutely. Sir Isaac Newton called this sudden termination of motion the stooge’s surcease.
Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter.
Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the speciality of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a cookie-cutout-perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.
The time required for an object to fall twenty stories is greater than or equal to the time it takes for whoever knocked it off the ledge to spiral down twenty flights to attempt to capture it unbroken.
Such an object is inevitably priceless, the attempt to capture it inevitably unsuccessful.
All principles of gravity are negated by fear.
Psychic forces are sufficient in most bodies for a shock to propel them directly away from the earth’s surface. A spooky noise or an adversary’s signature sound will induce motion upward, usually to the cradle of a chandelier, a treetop, or the crest of a flagpole. The feet of a character who is running or the wheels of a speeding auto need never touch the ground, especially when in flight.
As speed increases, objects can be in several places at once.
This is particularly true of tooth-and-claw fights, in which a character’s head may be glimpsed emerging from the cloud of altercation at several places simultaneously. This effect is common as well among bodies that are spinning or being throttled.
A wacky character has the option of self-replication only at manic high speeds and may ricochet off walls to achieve the velocity required.
Certain bodies can pass through solid walls painted to resemble tunnel entrances; others cannot.
This trompe l’oeil inconsistency has baffled generations, but at least it is known that whoever paints an entrance on a wall’s surface to trick an opponent will be unable to pursue him into this theoretical space.
The painter is flattened against the wall when he attempts to follow into the painting. This is ultimately a problem of art, not of science.
Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.
Cartoon cats possess even more deaths than the traditional nine lives might comfortably afford. They can be decimated, spliced, splayed, accordion-pleated, spindled, or disassembled, but they cannot be destroyed. After a few moments of blinking self pity, they reinflate, elongate, snap back, or solidify.
A cat will assume the shape of its container.
Everything falls faster than an anvil.
For every vengeance there is an equal and opposite revengeance.
This is the one law of animated cartoon motion that also applies to the physical world at large. For that reason, we need the relief of watching it happen to a duck instead.
Law Amendment A
A sharp object will always propel a character upward.
When poked (usually in the buttocks) with a sharp object (usually a pin), a character will defy gravity by shooting straight up, with great velocity.
Law Amendment B
The laws of object permanence are nullified for “cool” characters.
Characters who are intended to be “cool” can make previously nonexistent objects appear from behind their backs at will. For instance, the Road Runner can materialize signs to express himself without speaking.
Law Amendment C
Explosive weapons cannot cause fatal injuries.
They merely turn characters temporarily black and smokey.
Law Amendment D
Gravity is transmitted by slow-moving waves of large wavelengths.
Their operation can be wittnessed by observing the behavior of a canine suspended over a large vertical drop. Its feet will begin to fall first, causing its legs to stretch. As the wave reaches its torso, that part will begin to fall, causing the neck to strech. As the head begins to fall, tension is released and the canine will resume its regular proportions until such time as it strikes the ground.
Law Amendment E
Dynamite is spontaneously generated in “C-spaces” (spaces in which cartoon laws hold).
The process is analogous to steady-state theories of the universe which postulated that the tensions involved in maintaining a space would cause the creation of hydrogen from nothing. Dynamite quanta are quite large (stick sized) and unstable (lit). Such quanta are attracted to psychic forces generated by feelings of distress in “cool” characters (see Amendment B, which may be a special case of this law), who are able to use said quanta to their advantage. One may imagine C-spaces where all matter and energy result from primal masses of dynamite exploding. A big bang indeed.
Spanish art collective Boa Mistura (Good Mixture) organized a cool urban project with the collaboration of the locals in one of the many favelas of Sao Paulo, Brazil. They created a series of colourful anamorphic murals with uplifting messages such as “beauty”, “love”, “firmness”, “pride”, “sweetness” painted in large bold letters aiming to inspire the poor community.
Floating Water Bridge
Known as the water thread experiment, this phenomenon shown above seems to defy the intuitive laws of everyday physics. The experiment was first demonstrated in 1863 by British Engineer William Armstrong.
Two containers of deionized water, placed in some sort of insulator (glass beakers work fine), must be connected by a thin thread and exposed to a high-voltage charge (one beaker receives the positive charge, and the negative to the other.) At a critical voltage threshold, a water bridge forms between the two containers across the thread - which remains even when the containers are separated!
Typically, the diameter of this bridge is no more than 1-3 mm, but can remain intact as far as an 25mm! The surface temperature, due to the voltage, rises from about 20 °C (68 °F) up to 60 °C(140 °F)! The longest that the phenomenon has lasted is 45 minutes.
Little Shining Man is a sculpture that has the potential for flight.
The design of the structure is based around the tetra kites of Alexander Graham Bell, multiplied out into colliding cubes that take their form from the cubic formations of the mineral Pyrite. A double wing module has been duplicated and arranged into a tight cellular structural arrangement that appears as a heavy, un-flyable mass. Utilising lightweight materials and the symmetry of the module and composition, it is able to fly freely and steadily.
The kite flown in the images is one section of an arrangement of three, that come together to create the final piece of sculpture that is taken own from display once a year to be flown in St. Aubin’s Bay.
There were several challenges in realising Little Shining Man. The structure had to be as strong and light as possible in order to fly, but had to return to earth with minimal damage so it could be installed as a piece of sculpture. Carbon fibre rod and Cuben fibre, a hand made composite fabric used primarily in racing yacht sails, achieved the perfect combination of strength and weight. The visual impact of the fabric produces an ethereal sense of depth and refraction that gives the heavy mass the lightest touch.
+ Heather and Ivan Morison
Scottish sculptor Rob Mulholland creates these eerie mirrored sculptures out of Perspex, a kind of acrylic glass. The pieces create the uncanny effect of blending into their surroundings, at times appearing almost completely camouflaged and yet jumping out at you suddenly as your perspective shifts around them. Mulholland’s largest installation of six figures, Vestige, is currently installed at David Marshall Lodge in Scotland. The artist, via his website:
The essence of who we are as individuals in relationship to others and our given environment forms a strong aspect of my artistic practise. In Vestige I wanted to explore this relationship further by creating a group, a community within the protective elements of the woods, reflecting the past inhabitants of the space. […] The six male and female figures represent a vestige, a faint trace of the past people and communities that once occupied and lived in this space. The figures absorb their environment, reflecting in their surface the daily changes of life in the forest. They create a visual notion of non – space. A void as if they are at one moment part of our world and then as they fade into the forest they become an intangible outline.