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''Tipping Point'' Sculpture Begins Tour of Campus

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 Art student Michael Fadel's "Tipping Point" sculpture in front of Byrnes Auditorium was inspired by Winthrop's Common Book "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell.

ROCK HILL, S.C. - Senior art student Michael Fadel credits his "Tipping Point" sculpture for bringing together the laws of gravity, physics and time.

Winthrop’s Common Book "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell inspired Fadel’s creation, which now rests in front of Byrnes Auditorium. It will soon be moved to Ida Jane Dacus Library for a week, then Dinkins Student Center and finally Rutledge Building.

The sculpture is in a black steel frame box more than six feet tall and 10 feet long. The box can be rolled around easily but will be stationary at each location. Fadel used a mechanism similar to the pumping arms of a steam engine, so the two mechanical arms will move up and down opposite each other. There are three joints to each arm which extend about 10 feet. The pump arms attach to what amounts to a scaled up set of bicycle wheels, he said.

Near the end of the pump arms is a series of shapes which form the numbers 1765. That is the year when James Watt made improvements to the steam engine and helped bring about the Industrial Revolution.

The book "The Tipping Point" mentions nothing about a literal point of tipping, Fadel said, rather all are figurative tipping points. The physical action of something tipping has become a metaphor in the book. "This metaphor is what my sculpture is: the effect of gravity, physics and time on two identical mechanical arms that interact together," said Fadel of Clemson, S.C. "They do this using opposing tipping points to allow a participator to become the physical force causing them to tip."

He added that "the overall appearance of the piece will be like a derelict machine that has been reassembled and made functional again."

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