SoCal art fans should definitely head down to the Orange County Museum of Art for the 2008 California Biennial. The so-called “tour de force” of the exhibit is an animatronic sculpture by Daniel J. Martinez, which was built and programmed by my good friend (and fellow SACI alumn) Peter Clarke.
Here’s a nice description of the piece in action:
Dressed in white pants and white shirt, with close-cropped hair and facial stubble, the figure appears deranged. Its eyes are rolled back, its teeth bared. A chunky, hip-hop-style silver belt buckle spells out the name “Ishmael.” At regular intervals, the reclining robot comes to mechanical life. An arm flops. A leg kicks. The head rolls forward and the torso twitches. When the flailing body parts hit the raised floor, it acts like a loud drum. The herky-jerky motion gets steadily more forceful, sometimes exposing the mechanical works beneath the floor that propel the man. The escalating racket is a cross between percussive music and a machine gun. It’s exciting, but there’s also a sense of relief when the figure finally pipes down and goes limp, returning to its static, soundless state.
I was fortunate enough to see the sculpture at various stages during the process, but I find these images documenting an extremely early stage of development to be some of the most