6th Grade – Yaacov Agam and Agamographs

6th Grade – Yaacov Agam and Agamographs

Description of the Unit – Students will examine and discuss the work of artist Yaacov Agam, and through his inspiration they will create their own Agamograph, a kinetic work of art that transforms from one image to another, depending on the viewers’ perspective.

The kinetic Dizengoff Square Fountain by Yaacov Agam, seen here lit up at night
The kinetic Dizengoff Square Fountain by Yaacov Agam

Activity statement – Yaacov Agam is an Israeli artist best known for his pioneering Kinetic Art. His lenticular prints, or Agamographs, made illusory images appear depending on the audience’s viewpoint. These pieces ask one to contemplate change, progress, time, and our role as observer vs. participant. Students will consider images of concepts, creatures or objects which can shift or change in some way, and incorporate their chosen concept into an Agamograph. To successfully create an Agamograph, students will need to make precise mathematical measurements throughout the entire process. Students will have the choice of coloring in their Agamographs in marker, colored pencil, oil pastel and watercolor (for backgrounds)—or a combination of any or all of these media.

The artist Yaacov Agam demonstrating the fluid changeability of one of his kinetic art pieces.
The artist Yaacov Agam demonstrating the fluid changeability of one of his kinetic art pieces.
Yaacov Agam's tribute to victims of the AMIA bombing
Yaacov Agam’s tribute to victims of the AMIA bombing
"Visual Prayer for Peace, Hope and Tolerance" by Yaacov Agam
“Visual Prayer for Peace, Hope and Tolerance” by Yaacov Agam

Goals – Students should…

Understand:

  • The meaning of kinetic art
  • What an Agamograph is and does

Know:

  • Who Yaacov Agam is, and the kinds of concepts he explores in his kinetic artwork

Be able to:

  • Use a ruler to make precise measurements
  • Think in fractions and apply fractions to paper
  • Visualize the process of change between two separate images in order to create an Agamograph

Resources and Materials

  • Examples of Yaacov Agam’s work, as well as examples of student Agamographs 
  • 9×12 white heavyweight (Bristol) paper
  • 12×18 lightweight white paper
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Sharpies (fine and thick point)
  • Rulers
  • Colored markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Oil pastels
  • Watercolor
  • Brushes
  • Jars
  • Cutting board

Questions – (first few questions pertain to observing Agam’s work)

  • What do you notice? What is happening?
  • How do you think this work is created?
  • What could the idea of kinetic art symbolize?
  • What deeper meaning might there be to kinetic art?
  • What makes kinetic art interesting?
  • How do you feel about being able to interact with the work of art?
  • How does this make it different to viewing a static work of art?
  • What kinds of things can you imagine that transform?
  • Give examples of two different beings, objects or concepts that can represent a transformation (ie, caterpillar to butterfly, egg in a nest to bird, daytime landscape to nighttime landscape, etc.)

Evaluation – Did students:

  • Come up with a concept that represents change/transformation?
  • Successfully construct an Agamograph to represent this transformation?

Informal:

  • Student questions
  • Group discussions
  • Oral responses to essential questions
  • Elaboration and risk-taking

The following are video representations of 6th grade students’ Agamographs:

6th grade student Agamograph – city to countryside
6th grade student Agamograph – otter to bones
6th grade student Agamograph – from farm to plate
6th grade student Agamograph – Shell Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree’

The following are photos of 6th grade student Agamographs displaying both sides of each piece:

6th Grade Student Agamograph - Transformation from an otter to an otter skeleton
6th Grade Student Agamograph – Transformation from an otter to an otter skeleton
6th Grade Student Agamograph - Transformation from a common rat to Mickey Mouse
6th Grade Student Agamograph – Transformation from a common rat to Mickey Mouse
6th Grade Student Agamograph - Transformation from the Batman searchlight to Batman
6th Grade Student Agamograph – Transformation from the Batman searchlight to Batman
6th Grade Student Agamograph - Transformation from the little boy to the old man inspired by Shell Silverstein's "the Giving Tree"
6th Grade Student Agamograph – Transformation from the little boy to the old man inspired by Shell Silverstein’s “the Giving Tree”

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