Kinetic art is art from any medium that contains movement perceivable by the viewer or depends on motion for its effect. Canvas paintings that extend the viewer’s perspective of the artwork and incorporate multidimensional movement are the earliest examples of kinetic art. More pertinently speaking, kinetic art is a term that today most often refers to three-dimensional sculptures and figures such as mobiles that move naturally or are machine operated. The moving parts are generally powered by wind, a motor or the observer. Kinetic art encompasses a wide variety of overlapping techniques and styles.
There is also a portion of kinetic art that includes virtual movement, or rather movement perceived from only certain angles or sections of the work. This term also clashes frequently with the term “apparent movement”, which many people use when referring to an artwork whose movement is created by motors, machines, or electrically powered systems. Both apparent and virtual movement are styles of kinetic art that only recently have been argued as styles of op art. The amount of overlap between kinetic and op art is not significant enough for artists and art historians to consider merging the two styles under one umbrella term, but there are distinctions that have yet to be made.