Behold the awesomeness that is Long Ma the fire-breathing dragon-horse, the latest creation by French artist François Delarozière and his art production company La Machine. The 46-ton kinetic sculpture stands almost 40 feet tall and features articulated limbs that can gallop, rear up, and fold beneath him when he wants to sit down. His neck rises and falls and his wonderfully expressive face features eyes that open and close. Best of all, his chest swells from the pressure building in his lungs before he exhales fantastic plumes of smoke from his nostrils and jets of fire from his mouth.
This marvelous interactive sculpture was just debuted in the French city of Nantes and will soon be traveling to Beijing where he’ll be presented in October as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China. Long Ma is based on a creature from Chinese mythology, Longma, a fabled winged horse with dragon scales, and will be the hero of a performance entitled “Long Ma Jing Shen” or “The Spirit of the Horse Dragon” during which he’ll face off against a giant spider.
Click here and here for video footage of Long Ma in all his fiery glory.
Steam of Consciousness Handmade polyurethane skull (½ scale) with fully functioning custom built miniature steam engine. Materials: Brass, carbon steel, stainless steel, glass, polyurethane, and wood. Size: 6" x 9" (15 cm x 23 cm) including glass dome. Christopher Conte
Tele-Present Water Simulates a Spot in the Pacific from Halfway Around the World
Artist David Bowen is known for his kinetic sculptures that are driven by real-world data from natural phenomenon. For his work “Tele-Present Water,” first exhibited at the National Museum in Wroclaw, Poland, Bowen pulled real-time wave intensity and frequency data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) buoy station 46246 (49°59’7″ N 145°5’20″ W) located in the remote Shumagin Islands of Alaska. This information was scaled and transferred to a mechanical grid structure, resulting in an uncanny live simulation of the movement of water from halfway around the world. The piece, along with Bowen’s other works, speaks to the way technology and telecommunications can both alienate us from and unite us with the natural world. While technology has enabled us to control and model phenomena with unprecedented precision, it may also provide a means to understand the world in a more intimate, visceral way.
“The Perch Light is a balancing sculptural light made of folded paper and brass. The lamp takes the form of an abstract bird which appears to be delicately balanced on its metal perch. The bird is illuminated through contact with the perch and this lets the bird balance and swing without any cables whilst maintaining luminance. The design was inspired by nature and in particular, the elegance and beauty of a bird sitting on its perch.”
This beautiful handmade lamp is available as both a standing lamp and a wall-mounted fixture. The bird has been carefully counterbalanced so that it rests perfectly upon its perch. It can also swing back and forth in the wind or when touched. Click here to view the Perch Light in motion.
Like a small god, Dutch kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen has spent the last twenty years creating wind-powered machines called “Strandbeests.” Most at home on damp stretches of beach, these stunning constructions amble across their habitat with unnervingly life-like dexterity. They are intricately built from piping, wood, and wing-like sails, and genetic algorithms are used to organise the steps of their many spindly legs. Fascinatingly, their legs are engineered so that smaller tubes are slotted within larger ones, creating “muscles” that can lengthen while walking to help the body balance. Strandbeests have evolved from rudimentary “species” to more sophisticated ones equipped to deal with their three main predators: dry sand, the sea, and storms. Jansen has given them the ability to store air pressure by capturing wind in their wings and pumping it into old lemonade bottles, so if the wind drops, the creatures can still move—perhaps to save their lives by moving clear of a rising tide. They also have primitive brains: binary step counters that tell the creature its location in its simple world of sand and dunes. Some species also have feelers that can detect both water or dry sand, which immediately kicks the strandbeest into preservation mode, making it instinctively stop and walk the opposite way. Some strandbeests can even sense when a storm is coming, and anchor themselves to the ground to survive. Eventually, Jansen hopes that herds of his breathtakingly life-like creatures can roam coastlines independent of human supervision.
Alex Lockwoodself-taught artist from Seattle, WA makes abstract sculptures from colorful material, often repurposed or recycled. He builds with one primary component which is repeated many times to create patterns and structures. Lockwood has exhibited in various group shows across the US and his first solo show had at Curtis Steiner Gallery in Seattle in 2013.via Coop Gallery
“When I first turned on the Cambrian Wave I was reminded of the wiggly creatures found in the Burgess Shale. These creatures, which flourished in the geologic time known as the Cambrian Period, had so many arms and legs that even their fossils seem to have movement. The lower part of the sculpture is made of birch, maple and basswood. Embedded pulleys add together the motion originating in the three top rings. A steel frame shaped like a bow holds the rings and tensions a white comb that separates the weave from the wave. The thimble in the central ring is filled with pulleys and so behaves like a fool’s tackle, doubling the motion in the single wavelength that acts over the entire sculpture. The little circles drive the edge riffles with the yellow dots. Each ring has its own motor, and because these motors all go different speeds, the sculpture is pretty much non-repeating.”
This steampunk themed clock designed by the famous Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli is the largest animated clock in the world. The clock was completed in December 2006 after a design period of over four years.
The enormous copper clock is 12 metres high, 18 metres wide, and has extensive animations timed to music including firing steam cannon, moving figures, and moving legs like Howl’s Moving Castle.
The clock was built by sculptor Shachimaru Kunio who also built the giant Laputa robot on the rooftop of the Ghibli museum. Miyazaki said that he wanted to make something that would be loved by future generations that would last beyond his animated characters.
This past weekend, digital-art impresario Takeshi Murata premiered new work at gallery Ratio 3’s space at the Frieze art fair. Melter 3-D is by definition a zoetrope, a device that produce the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures, but it’s tangible.
Fertile imaginations might wonder what kind of messages are carried on the wind; American artist Anthony Howe gives these whispers form in his stunning, moving metal sculptures that are powered by the breath of the wind. Based out of Eastsound, Washington, Howe began as a painter, but has been working with kinetic sculptures for the last two decades. As he tells VICE's Creators’ Project:
“I was bored with everything being static in my visual world. I wanted to see stuff flow.”
To develop his pieces, Howe begins first with 3D computer-aided designs which he then cuts out of metal with the help of a plasma cutter. He then completes his works using traditional metalwork techniques.
It’s not as easy as it looks, and his pieces take some time to be tested out, says Howe:
“You have to spend 10 or 15 years so they’ll hold together and look good. Intuitively, I have to guess what will happen if the wind gets really strong. I try to overbuild my work. The best way to test it is to bolt one of the sculptures to my Ford F-150 and drive down the freeway. You can put metal on a table and wind will knock it off. But if you want art to spin at one knot then it’s a bit harder.”
Howe is now working on what he calls “the largest kinetic wind sculpture in the world,” at 30 feet wide, 30 feet deep, and 25 feet high. “Octo 3” will debut at the arts festival Burning Man in 2014, and will require an 18-wheel truck to get it out into the desert. More over at Anthony Howe's site.
Domestic Erosion: Reading the Energy of Everyday Objects
English artist Tim Taylor investigates new ways to understand the banal objects in our daily lives as a way to expose their hidden or overlooked features and meanings. In “Domestic Erosion,” Taylor takes three familiar devices from the domestic sphere—a hair dryer, iron, and tea kettle—and allows them to take on a life of their own as energetic objects. After plugging in the devices, Taylor places them, respectively, in front of, on, and under a massive block of ice and films the interaction. In a sense, the objects “create” the artwork: their generic factory setting dictate the form and outcome of the piece. Taylor’s work not only highlights the hidden energy of our everyday objects, but proposes ways in which we might question our accepted understanding of their function and logic.
One Man, 100,000 Toothpicks, and 35 Years: A Kinetic Sculpture of San Francisco
Scott Weaver had already begun work on this insanely complex kinetic sculpture, Rolling through the Bay, that he continues to modify and expand even today. The elaborate sculpture is comprised of multiple “tours” that move pingpong balls through neighborhoods, historical locations, and iconic symbols of San Francisco, all recreated with a little glue, some toothpicks, and an incredible amount of ingenuity. He admits in the video that there are several toothpick sculptures even larger than his, but none has the unique kinetic components he’s constructed. Via his website Weaver estimates he’s spent over 3,000 hours on the project, and the toothpicks have been sourced from around the world:
I have used different brands of toothpicks depending on what I am building. I also have many friends and family members that collect toothpicks in their travels for me. For example, some of the trees in Golden Gate Park are made from toothpicks from Kenya, Morocco, Spain, West Germany and Italy. The heart inside the Palace of Fine Arts is made out of toothpicks people threw at our wedding.