Sunday, April 04, 2010

Kinetic sculpture talk & exhibit by Brad Litwin

Philadelphia based, kinetic sculptor, Bradley N. Litwin, will give a multimedia presentation about the evolution of his sculptural work. He will also be displaying of several pieces -- some not yet seen in public.

The event takes place at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts, held and sponsored by the Artists’ Cultural Exchange (ACX). Admission is free.

Date: 04/06/2010
Time: 7:00 PM
Location:
Cheltenham Center for the Arts
439 Ashbourne Road
Cheltenham, Pennsylvania 19012

For more info: www.cheltenhamarts.org


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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Artist skins toys in beautifully handcrafted metals

Cathy McClure gives toys beautifully handcrafted metal skins


Artist Cathy McClure gives mass-produced toys finely crafted exoskeletons made from various metals, including silver. The toys often still work mechanically after they have been enhanced by the artist.

Here is an article on Cathy McClure’s Playthings on the Texas Tech University School of Art Alumni blog. Here is a link to some video of Cathy McClure's creations in motion.


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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Steampunk Style Jewelry: Victorian & Mechanical

Steampunk Style Jewelry: Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings
I don't know why I am surprised to find books on how to make things in the "Steampunk style", but I am. I guess it is truly a mainstream thing now. Anyway, this looks like an interesting book on how to make steampunk jewelry.

A bit about the book:
This how-to jewelry-making book features the work of an array of invited jewelry designers influenced by the growing Steampunk trend....Each project provides a complete materials and tools list, step-by-step instructions, and clear illustrations.

Here the link to Steampunk Style Jewelry: Victorian, Fantasy, and Mechanical Necklaces, Bracelets, and Earrings


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Monday, March 08, 2010

Incredible animal sculptures by Ron Pippin

Incredible sculptures by artist Ron Pippin
Take a look at the astounding sculpture by artist Ron Pippin. Shown here is a piece entitled Solar Deer. Below is a detailed photo of the same piece. Wow.

Solar Deer by Ron Pippen
See more sculpture by Ron Pippin on his web site.

[ Thanks Aaron!]


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kinetica Art Fair 2010 - London, Feb. 4th - 7th, 2010

Kinetica Art Fair 2010
Kinetica Art Fair 2010 developed by Kinetica Museum will take place in London from February 4th to 7th. Over 25 galleries and organizations specializing in kinetic, electronic, and new media art are taking part and over 150 artists exhibiting.

From the Kinetica 2010 press release:
A family of holographic light beings, sculpting and drawing robots, an orchestral milk float, a giant vertical electronic wave and a special feature exhibition of work from the masters of kinetic art and the groundbreaking Cybernetic Serendipity show, are just some of the incredible exhibits at Kinetica Art Fair 2010. Kinetica Art Fair takes place from 4 - 7 February 2010 at the P3 space in London and is the UK's only art fair dedicated to kinetic, robotic, sound, light and time-based art. Art that has a life of its own, talks, workshops, performances and more create an art fair like no other.

Visit the Kinetica 2010 web site for more information about this amazing event.


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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Automata: Contemporary Mechanical Sculpture

Automata: Contemporary Mechanical Sculpture The folks at the incredible Cabaret Mechanical Theatre blog have sent word that there is new autoamta exhibit in Madison, WI at the Chazen Museum of Art running from January 16, through March 14, 2010.

From the exhibit press release:
"The Chazen Museum of Art presents the delightful work of fourteen international artists in Automata: Contemporary Mechanical Sculpture. Meticulously crafted to perform complex, surprising, and often comic movements, these mechanical sculptures tell quick fanciful tales of nature, myth and magic, the creative process, and sheer make-believe. More than 25 hand-cranked artist-designed automata, most loaned from the private collection of University of Arizona art professor emeritus Michael Croft, will be on view January 16 through March 14, 2010. Videos will play in the gallery to show the animated workings of the pieces. Museum admission is free."

Here is a link to more information on exhibit on the Chazen Museum web site.

[ Thanks to the Cabaret Mechanical blog! ]


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sculpture and automata by Kelley C. Jones

Check out the lively colors and distinctive characters created by artist Kelley C. Jones.

From the artist's web site:
"Kelley's 'idea explosion' are intricate, moving sculptures that are inspired by Kelly's life, her passion for making others laugh, and her wicked sense of humor."

See more sculptures and automata by Kelley C. Jones on her web site.

[ Thanks Phil Sing! ]



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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Big Man Walking, Scotland's first giant puppet

Check out this video of an impressive 8 meter tall blue giant of a puppet known as Big Man.

See more photos and additional videos at the Big Man Walking web site.

[ Thanks Bill! ]


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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The mechanical wooden art of Per Helldorff

Check out about ten automata and other mechanical wooden creations created by Per Helldorff on his web site.

I don't know what all of the pieces do, but it is clear that there is some serious creativity and ingenuity behind them.

Here's the link to the 'Mekanik' section of Per Helldorff's web site.

[ Thanks Charles! ]


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Build a paper automaton that can draw a picture!

Perhaps there is a theme this week; take a look at this amazing paper automata kit that draws a little picture on a Post-It Note!

From the kit description:
When the handle is turned the artist looks up at his model, then down at his easel and -amazingly- he starts to draw. Keep turning and you'll be amazed to see that he actually does a real pencil drawing of the model on a 'post-it' note! Although the model of the artist, the lady and all the little accessories (Paints, brushes,etc) are detailed and amusing, the real complexity lies within the case under their feet. The handle operates a 'worm' gear which in turn drives two large cams. One controls the forwards-and-backwards movement of the artist's arm, the other the 'side-to-side' movements. A series of levers transmit the movements and the combination of both actions results in the drawing.

Here's the link to The Artist Automaton kit page.


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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Museum Residency: Automata Maker at V&A

Tippu's Tiger.jpg
The the Victoria and Albert Museum is currently accepting applicants for an automata residency. This is a great opportunity for UK-based automata artists. Shown above is the famous piece known as Tippu's Tiger from their collection.

Museum Residency:
Automata Maker Bursary offered and studio space provided The V&A and the Crafts Council are collaborating on a series of three six month residencies in the Sackler Centre for arts education at the V&A. This third Craft Residency presents a new opportunity for mid-career practitioners to have a studio at the V&A for six months commencing in July 2010. Proposals are invited from UK based artists and makers working with, or wishing to work in Automata, who want to develop their practice through working with the V&A collections and engage in public participatory programmes in working with the V&A and Crafts Council.

For more details and to apply online, visit the V&A's website. The closing date for applications is 3 November 2009.


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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Making Mobiles: a step-by-step instruction book

Making Mobiles: a step-by-step instruction book
Here is a book that provides practical step-by-step instructions for making horizontally balanced mobiles. Though only 80 page long, the book covers materials, tools, designing, fabricating, assembly, painting, and hanging of mobiles.

Product Description
...19 carefully written chapters and 190 color photographs let you see and understand all the stages toward creating your mobiles. He even shows you how to fix a mistake and pack it for shipping. By following Bruces steps and positive attitude, hours of fun and challenge will be rewarded with art you are proud of.


Here is the link for Making Mobiles


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stunning posable mechanical cheetah sculpture

Stunning mechanical cheetah sculpture
I guess this made the rounds on some of the big blogs a few weeks ago, but I missed it. Maybe you did too. This is a mechanical, posable cheetah made of steel and various recycled parts. The creation of artist Andrew Chase, the cheetah took 60 hours of time to create. That's fast work if you ask me!

From the Wired article online:
'She's constructed out of electrical conduit, used transmission parts, disemboweled household appliances, 20-gauge steel and a lot of fender washers," says Chase.

The 24-inch tall cheetah measures about 50-inches nose-to-tail and weighs about 40 lbs. It also mimics the joints and movements of a real cat.

The cheetah is part of an ecosystem in a six-year art project called the 'Timmy universe.' The project has, so far, led to a mechanical giraffe and an elephant. Chase who has shown the giraffe at crafts fairs earlier had priced it at $6,000. No word on how much the cheetah will cost.

Here is the full Wired article on mechanical cheetah with lots of additional photographs.


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Assembled Artifacts exhibit at Device Gallery

Assembled Artifacts exhibit at Device Gallery
A show title 'Assembled Artifacts' opens this evening, Saturday July 18 at 6:30 at The Device Gallery located at 1815-B Main Street San Deigo, California.

The show features work by:
Christopher Conte, Stephane Halleux, Michihuro Matsuoka, Jeremy Mayer, Rich Muller, Nemo Gould, Olivier Pauwels, Lewis Tardy and Jud Turner

Here is the link for more information on Assembled Artifacts exhibit.


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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Giant girl puppet on the move again in France

I've posted in the past about the giant marionette of a little girl created by a group called Royal de Luxe. Brought to life with the aid of cranes, block-and-tackle, and a team of puppeters, the girl was on the move again last month in a piece called "La géante du Titanic et le scaphandrier".

Here is a link with photographs and more information (in French) on La géante du Titanic et le scaphandrier.

Shown here is a video segment of one portion of the performance.

[ Thanks Bonne-voglie! ]


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

automatesgalerie - automata museum in Belgium

Our colleagues at the Spiel und Kunst mit Mechanik blog have alerted us to some exciting news. A new automata museum has open in Brussels, Belgium featuring the following automata artists:

- Keith Newstead
- Robert Race
- John Grayson
- J Ch Detallante
- L & A St-Léger
- Wanda Sowry
- Philip Lowndes
- Peter Lennertz
- Neil Hardy
- Jason Cleverly
- James Chedburn
- Jacques Jauniaux
- Ian Mckay
- Dominique Corbin
- Carlos Zapata
- Jon Mills
- Jan Zalud

Learn more at the automatesgalerie web site.
[ Thanks Falk! ]


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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Chameleon Chronicles automaton by Thomas Kuntz

Another beautiful piece by Thomas Kuntz. The mechanical sophistication, multi-disciplinary artistry, attention to detail, and ability to create a complex, but cohesive whole are all things that make me want to apprentice to this man I consider to be a modern master of a automata.

Thomas Kuntz on 'Chameleon Chronicles':
The piece has 16 different functions and is completely mechanically cam and lever driven with the aid of chains pulleys and linkages,additionally (but not shown ) the dragon smokes with incense which is placed in his body through a door in the back . The piece is about three feet all with figures in roughly 1/9 scale.


See more of Thomas Kuntz's automata at Artomic.com.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kinetica Art Fair exhibit opens February 27th, 2009

Kinetica Art Fair exhibit 2009
Kinetica Art Fair is the UK's first art fair dedicated to kinetic, robotic, sound, light and time-based art. The exhibit opens in London on Friday 27 February, 2009.
More than 25 galleries and organisations specialising in kinetic, electronic and new media art are taking part with over 150 exhibiting artists. The Fair will be like no other with living, moving, speaking and performing art.

The Fair provides unparalleled opportunities for the public and collectors alike to view and buy work from this thriving international movement and to participate in the programme of talks, workshops and performances.

Here is the link to the site for Kinetica Art Fair 2009.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

'Oceania' kinetic art by Casey Curran

Take a look at the amazing hand-cranked automata of Casey Curran. The artist uses twisted wire of various materials to create very original and organic forms. There is no welding or soldering involved -- just twisted wire! Kudos all around!

Casey Curran's work can be seen in person at Gallery IMA in Seattle, Washington.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

'Dubious' - Awesome automaton BY Tom Haney

Take a look at the shady character depicted in Tom Haney's new automaton entitled Dubious.

This charming piece and two others (stay tuned to this channel!) will be on display at the Los Angeles Art Show at the LA Convention Center from January 21st to 25th, 2009.

Here's a link to images, movies, and in-progress shots of Dubious by Tom Haney.


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dale Mathis solo art show in Las Vegas

Mechanical artist, Dale Mathis, will be showing dynamic art pieces in his first solo show. The show, called "Steam Funk", opens on January 31st, 2009 in Las Vegas.

Details on the Dale Mathis solo show:
Oh, My Godard Gallery
Planet Hollywood Hotel, Las Vegas
Saturday, January 31st from 5-9pm
Free and open to the public

Visit his web site for more about Dale Mathis and his art.


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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Manet's Olympia - a classic Spooner automaton

You have to admire the organic, even sensual, motion that renowned automaton-maker Paul Spooner achieves with this piece based on Edouard Manet's famous painting 'Olympia'(shown below).

Manet's Olympia
What a great idea to use a famous painting as the basis for an automaton. Of course, the substitution of Anubis in the background of the automaton adds a very distinctly Spooner touch!


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Monday, January 12, 2009

A new kinetic robot sculpture from Nemo Gould

The Performer kinetic robot sculpture from Nemo Gould
Artist Nemo Gould has a new piece to share. Shown here is the new sculpture, entitled 'Performer #2'. Details about the piece are now posted on his site and the sculpture itself will be on display later this month at the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa CA.

Here is a link to the Performer #2 page on Nemo Gould's Site.


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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gina Kamentsky's 'On the Workbench' Blog

Gina Kamentsky's 'On the Workbench' Blog
Just a few days ago multi-talented artist Gina Kamentsky started a blog entitled 'On the Workbench'.

From her first post:
I've been cranking out some interesting new work in studio and have added some new features to the Mechanical Confections website including On the Workbench, a blog where I'll be updating progress on new kinetic sculpture work as it evolves. In addition, this section will feature updates on gallery shows, new work posted to this site, links to resources and inspiration for mechanized sculpture.

I look forward to following along as she creates her clever creations!

Here's the link to Gina Kamentsky's On the Workbench Blog.


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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Theo Jansen: The art of creating creatures

While we are on the subject of my new heroes (see yesterday's post about Clayton Boyer), I just saw video from one of the TED Talks featuring Theo Jansen. I misunderstood the scale, scope, and beauty of his vision. While I may still not know all of it, this video has given me a much greater appreciation for his attempt to create large-scale mechanical life-forms that roam wind-swept beaches. Truly an impressive vision and monumental feat.

[ Thanks S.C.! ]


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Monday, November 03, 2008

More details on heart-shaped gear assembly

I posted the other day about this amazing heart composed of moving gears.

At the time, I was quite uncertain about the material used. One commenter said that it was papercraft, and would appear to be correct.

I am told that the artist was a winner in a world karakuri contest back in 2005.


I see also that the artist has made a piece similar to the heart in the form of a cube. Video of the cube can be seen here if you have the right plug-in.

The artist, Haruki Nakamura, also does other forms of paper-craft including illustration, models, and impressive 3 dimensional tessellations.


See more from the artist on Haruki Nakamura's web site.

[ Thanks philsing and PINO! ]


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Monday, October 06, 2008

Who Said Automata Need to be Whimsical?

Automata artist Tom Haney posed a question to me in the email that accompanied a link to this video:
"Who says all automata have to be fun and/or whimsical?"
Point taken.

Indeed, contemporary automata are as valid a medium for social statements as any other art form. Their ability to tell a story through character, scene, and motion make them well suited to portray all manner events -- even serious human drama as in this piece by Jon Haddock entitled Andrew Meyer (Don't Tase Me Bro').

Because the viewer/user must provide the power to the hand-cranked mechanism of the automaton, they might feel somewhat complicit in the acts depicted. This may make automata a particularly powerful vehicle for critical thinking, reflection, and social change.

[ Thanks to Tom Haney ]


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Interview with Amy Jenkins, Toy Designer & Artist

Plush robots by Amy JenkinsAmy Jenkins has been involved with industrial grade design and fabrication for years and is currently developing a studio in California where she can explore ideas for toy design and production. Shown here are are her some of her plush robot creations.

She recently did an interview with the San Francisco chapter of Bizaar Bizarre and was kind enough to mention The Automata / Automaton blog.

Check out some of Amy's many, many creations at the Cozy Rampage blog.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Falk Keuten - Expert in Mechancial Objects & Art

Falk Keuten, mechancical objects expertThere are a few people that have really helped The Automata / Automaton Blog grow since it started in the summer of 2006. I would like to introduce you to one of those people now -- Falk Keuten of Bonn, Germany.

Herr Keuten has devoted years to collecting information, books, videos, and examples of things directly related to what is presented on this blog.

Among his many interests are:
• Mechanical toys
• Wooden automata
• Coin-operated automata, gambling and vending machines
• Amusement machines for fairs and festivals
• Odd machines, strange mechanics, mechanical chain reactions
• Paper mechanics including books, figures, and greeting cards
• Machine Art / Kinetic art
• Rolling ball sculptures as toys, construction kits, and art

Not content to simply collect items and information, he has invented some of his own things that can be described as a being a mix of toys, art, and mechanics. Herr Keuten has many connections to artists within his diverse areas of interest.

Mechanische Spielobjekte und AutomatenHe is the author of a wonderful book: Mechanische Spielobjekte und Automaten, Munich 1987, now out of print. The title translates in English as something like "Mechanical Toy Objects and Automata". I am informed, though, that in the German "automaten" includes more things than the English word "automata".

Herr Keuten has written many articles for professional journals. He writes a regular column "Virtuelle Wunderkammer" for a German journal aimed at Design and Technology teachers called tu.

He is also a key contributor to the fantastic site www.kugelbahn.ch, providing many of the links found on their kinetic arts page and the author of a comprehensive media list.

Herr Keuten has been involved in many school-based exhibitions. His last general exhibition entitled "Rollende Kugeln" (Rolling Balls) was at the gallery Studio Dumont, in Cologne, in December of 2007.

My admiration and my gratitude are sent to Falk Keuten, an expert with a generous heart.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

HiTec RoboNova-1: Robot, Toy, Automaton, Art?

I have been asked publicly and privately where I draw the line between robot and automaton. As of yet, I do not have a well-reasoned answer. I have also been asked about the line between objet d'art and toy. Again, my answer is a murky one.

While this blog isn't about robots, I have a great fondness for them; I have made a few myself. With all of this gray area, why not show you an autonomous toy robot?

This 12 inch tall mechanical man can walk, run, do flips, cartwheels, and perform dance moves. At $1300 (or $1000 for an unassembled kit version) one hesitates to call it a toy. Perhaps because it can be programmed, we would also hesitate to call it autonomous. Just because it is sold en masse, are there not elements that qualify as art?

All I feel certain of is that RoboNova-1 is a technological marvel. I have no doubt that watchmakers, engineers, magicians, and automata-makers of old would have found this thing as fascinating as I do. I would love to have one (in order to do a proper review for you, of course).

Check out the HiTec RoboNova-1 at Edmund's Scientifics.

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