The Declaration of Independence is a kinetic sculpture commemorating the end of the epoch of materialism at the close of the Industrial Age.
As a work of formative, visual art, the sculpture takes a position – on the threshold of the 21st century – at a point that marks the beginning of the Age of Immateriality.Five hundred years after the redefining of "self" in space in the aftermath of the development of perspective, the invention of the telescope and the discovery of America, the renaissance impulse now finds itself at an end. The attempt to visualize the invisible is now discoverable as well in areas unrelated to art -- computers, particle accelerators, cyberspace. While the prime objective during the Age of Industry was the development of machines for processing material, machinery is now being created to fulfil intellectual needs. The Declaration of Independence, which takes the form of a "machine", is nevertheless founded in thought patterns pertinent to art.
Technical description
The upper section of the octagonal hood is elevated by means of four spindle-stroke drives. The process takes about ten seconds. When the hood is in the raised position, it leaves a ring-shaped opening, 60 cm in height, revealing two horizontally positioned, moveable brass wheels whose outer edges are affixed with test-tubes containing earth gathered from 128 countries of our planet. The lower wheel turns counter-clockwise (electromagnetic drive), stopping after every third test tube. The upper wheel descends at each stop. Thus all of the test tubes on both wheels are eventually brought into contact with one another. Given 128 test tubes per wheel, the possible combinations number 1282. After three complete revolutions, the hood is closed.

The earth contained in the 128 test tubes was provided by the embassies of the Federal Republic of Germany, who kindly contributed, at my request, 150g of soil collected in their respective countries in support of this project. The selection of countries represented in the Declaration of Independence is based upon information contained in the Fischer Weltalmanach 1991. All of the countries chosen have populations of greater than one million.
Technical specifications
Dimensions: height: open: 280 cm, closed: 220 cm
Diameter: 200 cm
Weight (approx.): 800 kg
Materials: brass-steel construction steel planking, thickness 5 mm, test tubes (256), soil (silicium)
Power source: 2 electric motors (spindle-stroke drive) operating current: 220 V AC, electromagnet 220 V DC

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© 2020 A.TE.M. Marc J. M. van den Broek