Metropolis II

Chris Burden’s Metropolis II opens this week at LACMA. According to Burden, “The noise, the continuous flow of the trains, and the speeding toy cars, produces in the viewer the stress of living in a dynamic, active and bustling 21st Century city.” And also, I would add, the thrill and the wonder…

Here are a few stats on the piece:

  • The cars are attached by a small magnet to the conveyor belt that brings them to the crest.
  • The only motorization of the cars is the conveyor belt to the top.
  • Once the cars cross over the crest and head downward, their entire movement is by gravity.
  • They travel at a scale speed of 240 mph, plus or minus.
  • The tracks they take are Teflon coated to reduce friction.
  • The tracks are beveled at 7 degrees to give added torque for speed when
    they come through corners and curves.
  • The trains are out of the box electric train sets that run on electricity.

(Unframed)

See also: Big Wrench.

The Lion Man of the Hohlenstein Stadel is 32,000 years old

Everything that has happened since the time of Augustus Caesar takes up only 6.25% of the time that the Lion man of the Hohlenstein Stadel has been around for.

A lion headed figure, first called the lion man (German: Löwenmensch, literally “lion person”), then the lion lady (German: Löwenfrau), is an ivory sculpture that is the oldest known zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world and one of the oldest known sculptures in general. The sculpture has also been interpreted as anthropomorphic, giving human characteristics to an animal, although it may have represented an unfactual presence deity. The figurine was determined to be about 32,000 years old by carbon dating material from the same layer in which the sculpture was found. It is associated with the archaeological Aurignacian culture. (wikipedia)

 

Head On (2006)

head-on

With few wolves scattered in the front gallery, all ninety-nine wolves run, gallop, and jump toward the far end of the exhibition hall, where a wall stands. The bravery of the wolves is met head on by the unyielding wall. As the leading wolves go down, many more follow with force and determination. As those in the front fall and pile up, those behind take up their positions. (caiguoqiang.com)

Sketch Furniture

Is it possible to let a first sketch become an object, to design directly onto space? The four FRONT members have developed a method to materialise free hand sketches. They make it possible by using a unique method where two advanced techniques are combined. Pen strokes made in the air are recorded with Motion Capture and become 3D digital files; these are then materialised through Rapid Prototyping into real pieces of furniture. (frontdesign.se)

Via Architectradure.

Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest

A scientist-turned-artist, Jansen’s bizarre beach animals have their roots in a computer program that he designed 17 years ago in which virtual four-legged creatures raced against each other to identify survivors fit enough to reproduce. Determined to translate the evolutionary process off-screen, Jansen went to a local shop and found his own alternative to the biological cell — the humble plastic tube. (Wired: Wild Things Are On The Beach)

See also: Theo Jansen at TED and strandbeest.com.