Thursday, October 22, 2009
Dutch artist Theo Jansen has been working for 16 years to create sculptures that move on their own in eerily lifelike ways. Each generation of his "Strandbeests" is subject to the forces of evolution, with successful forms moving forward into new designs. Jansen's vision and long-term commitment to his wooden menagerie is as fascinating to observe as the beasts themselves.
His newest creatures walk without assistance on the beaches of Holland, powered by wind, captured by gossamer wings that flap and pump air into old lemonade bottles that in turn power the creatures' many plastic spindly legs. The walking sculptures look alive as they move, each leg articulating in such a way that the body is steady and level. They even incorporate primitive logic gates that are used to reverse the machine's direction if it senses dangerous water or loose sand where it might get stuck.
Nantes, the home town of Jules Verne, is situated in western France. Here, near the river Loire a giant deep-sea diver sleeps gently, waiting for his task to begin. Sadness marks his face even as he sleeps. He has been searching the world over for his missing niece and although he may not know it, the end of his search is coming. The diver or scaphandrier as he is known in French will be paraded through the streets of this historic city at the beginning of the Estuary 2009 arts festival. The biannual festival gives the French mechanical marionette street theater company Royale de Luxe the opportunity to unveil their latest creation.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Recycled water bottle Chandelier. My first project for the class was a sculpture made from recycled water bottles. The original idea was to create a water catchment system from water bottles in the shape of a giant funnel. As the idea progressed it morphed into a chandelier instead. This is less functional than a water catchment system, but is still beautiful. With the lights off in the room, the chandelier emits light in the shape of the patterns on the water bottles which can be seen on the walls of the room.