If this page could move in tune with these sculptures, it would crawl out of your computer monitor
There are mentions in the Bible about the whirling "wheels within wheels" (Ezekiel 1:16). Admittedly the examples listed below are no match for what Heaven and angels can put together, but some of the following "living, breathing" kinetic work are clearly bordering on genius.
Without a doubt, with no hyperbole: Theo Jansen is an absolute genius. Listen to his talk about the new creatures he builds from "plastic tubes and lemonade bottles"...
Vermeer, Leeuwenhoek, Huygens... in this company of other talented Dutchmen, Theo Jansen is a sculptor: he creates, from his own mind and imagination, intricate mechanisms. There have been other sculptors who've created work that moves – and there will be again – but what makes Theo’s work so amazing, so blindingly brilliant, is that his creations walk, stroll, stride, amble... and live almost "independent" from their creator on a deserted beach.
Instead of being powered by primitive steam or modern electricity, Theo’s creations are propelled by the air, by wind. They are strolling clipper ships, sauntering sailboats. (A well-known video of these creatures in motion can be seen here)
Just watch them -- they’re hypnotic, dreamy. Undulating beasts marching along the seaside, elaborate mechanisms walking through the surf spray ….
The natural algorithms... and the energy of prayer
First about prayer - rather, prayer wheels in Tibet - which will generate "green" (meaning absolutely free and clean) energy every time someone spins the wheel, which will be quite a lot: there are millions of tourists and locals visiting this location. Read more about it here:
"The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds." (Theo Jansen)
Theo Jansen is not the only magnificently original artist out there doing things with gears and pulleys and wire and leverage. Many other artist/engineers are working on a wide range of ways to mix mechanical joints with organic precision to create devices that walk like living creatures -- though whether those creations are as whimsical as Jansen's is open to debate.
"The Vex Walker" robot is going to be available as a kit, so anybody can built this and set it free in your kitchen:
These beasts utilize a mechanical linkage principle different from Theo Jansen's, called the Klann linkage. See the comparison of the two on this page
BMW Museum in Munich has recently unveiled the groovy "floating chrome balls" kinetic sculptures (watch the long, soothing video here) The balls are seemingly weightless, and glued together by the "power of the mind", according to the creators ART+COM:
We covered one truly spectacular group, based in Nantes: La Machine on Dark Roasted Blend before. Lead by François Delarozière, this team of engineers and artists has created some truly awesome devices for various amazing events:
(images credit: David Mayo, Matthew Andrews, La Machine)
Recently, for instance, a 37-ton spider descended down the side of a building in Liverpool, in the United Kingdom. To say that the sight of this nightmarish creature took the city by surprise is an understatement.
Entrancing... dazzlingly hypnotic
Since we’re chatting about amazing mechanical/artistic creations, we have to mention the artist Frederick Roland Emett. Sure, you can point to Rube Goldberg, who certainly deserves praise, but Frederick Roland Emett has a leg up on Goldberg for his incredibly diverse work (more info).
Not only are his illustrations wild, fanciful, and outrageous but he also created many insanely elaborate sculptures and creations. Looking like Willy Wonka’s hallucinations, or Dr. Suess' nightmares, Emett’s sculptures have an entrancing craziness that’s dazzlingly hypnotic:
"The S.S. (Space Ship) Pussiewillow II", on display at Smithsonian
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