Aphorism Generator – Steve Rein 2021

This interactive sculpture lets the viewer generate a custom aphorism by giving the wheels a spin. The three tiers each contain 4 words for 64 possible unique combinations of words that when read top to bottom, will formulate an aphorism (a concise statement of a principle). Any given combination may appear simplistic at face value, but contain deeper meaning upon further consideration. All possible combinations are positive.


“Aphorism Generator” was included in 2021 Fence Select Show at the Arts Center of the Capital Region, and featured on the cover of their Exhibits catalog for Winter/Spring of 2022. The piece was recently acquired by a private collector. I’m currently working on commission of a similar piece for a fellow artist.

These are great fun to make, using old wood I’ve saved over the years of fixing house, with the addition of new “lazy susan” ball bearings to get the works spinnable. They’re painted with durable One-Shot Lettering Enamel to stand up to the handling. The thing I like best about these is watching people play with them.

Mixed Messager – Steve Rein 2021

This piece was the first of my interactive ‘word spinners’. The possibilities of word combinations have a fair amount of pessimistic resignation, sprinkled with the occasional rainbow message found lurking amongst the gloom. It was also included the 2021 Fence Select show at ACCR. It’s companion, the Aphorism Generator strikes a considerably more optimistic tone. The larger size and extra tier of words makes for a more expansive experience.

Other Constructions

I’m drawn to old electrical bits, interesting fixtures, semi-defunct mechanical parts, salvaged wood and hardware. My goal is to make something new and ideally useful out of things whose original purpose is no longer viable. Another popular terms for this is “up-cycling”, which connotes the making of something better than the sum of its recycled constructions are the result of tinkering, which is a creative process that begins with interesting About materials and playful exploration.

Here are some of my other favorite recent projects:


The FIXIT light, made from a messed-up EXIT sign light, with a microphone stand base. Read more about this on my Home page.