Metal, plastic, wood, machine parts, stove, cooking pot, soup.
I met Arthur Ganson on a trip to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and we started talking. He was organizing a chain reaction of mechanical events at the museum and asked if I’d like to contribute, so of course I said yes, because I’ve wanted to have something there since I was about five years old. I had been working on these little quirky walkers that have two feet and erratically make their way down a hill and I immediately thought to use them. My sculptures are generally cyclic but a chain reaction requires something linear, so it was a trick. I holed myself up in my studio for a couple weeks making all sorts of useless cyclical machines, and somehow thought to have the walkers all make their way into a big pot of soup like lemmings or soilent green. I made an elevator that picked them up in sequence and set them walking on the top of the hill, and the machine ended up looking like a big fertility goddess … she actually had a natural grace in the S-shaped movement she used to lift them to the top of the hill! The walkers are erratic and don’t always make it to the bottom smoothly, but I did manage to design a couple that could avoid the edges of the hill, so that was an exciting innovation.
In the end, the crowd got very excited and cheered for all of my walkers’ successes. When the fourth one dropped in the soup, the pot fell on a burner that ignited beneath it and triggered the next machine in the show.