Monday, 7 February 2011

Kinetica Review - showing the cogs

I went along to Kinetica on Friday afternoon, the annual showcase of things that move. Part art exhibition, part trade show, part cabinet of curiosities it was a hugely inspiring few hours.

The interesting thing was how low-tech many of the exhibits were, they tended to be really clever and inventive ways of deploying well-known technologies, like these techno-birds that moved and conversed with each other.

Kinetica - from jezpaxman on Vimeo.

Or this piece by Alex Posada which is simply a series of rotating arcs of LED.

Kinetica spinning lights from jezpaxman on Vimeo.

Or these amazing walking pink men that rely on techniques popular with 19th Century fairground operators.

Kinetica - walking pink men from jezpaxman on Vimeo.

What is so brilliant about these exhibits is that being largely analogue they wear their technology on the outside; they allow you to see the cogs turnings, to peak round the corner and try to unpick their workings, to look for the mirrors.

It was a great reminder that people like to try and understand how things work, and that all too often digital technologies remove that possibility for most of us.

The engineering skills were phenomenal, there was a huge amount of tinkering and fine-tuning going on, upstairs was a whole bank of soldering irons, people head down working away.

Here are a few photos that I took, but for some far better ones check out What Katie Does.