Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Messengers - life-size mechanical figures tap out messages to spectators on a telegraph

You've got to check out this video of this kinetic sculpture by artist Pat Keck. Titled Messengers, it depicts four nearly life-sized figures seated behind a desk, each with a telegraph key. The spectator inserts a coin in the slot at the front of the machine. One of the figures taps out a message and a ticker tape emerges from the machine for the viewer to take and read. The figures take turns tapping out messages and passing slow, meaningful sidelong glances among themselves. They would appear know something that we do not.

The video takes about 10 minutes; it is worth setting aside some time for it. It's like an entire scene in some quirky surreal movie. The motion of the figures is so smooth and life-like, yet slow in an eerie way. I especially love it when a figure raise a hand off the telegraph key and rest it back on the table. It has a deliberate quality to it that reminds me of a magician in slow-motion.

Around the 7 minute mark we get to see some behind-the-scenes shots of the piece in-progress. The construction looks impeccable. We also get to see some of the motions in isolation, with is both fascinating and instructive. It's an incredible piece by a fantastic kinetic sculptor.

See more work by Pat Keck on the artist's web site.

[ Thanks Margaret! ]

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