Via the new Curious Contraptions exhibition at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, meet artist and mechanic Paul Spooner. Within a community of British makers, Spooner created over 40 whimsical kinetic sculptures for The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, an over 30 year old automata collection at the center of the Exploratorium’s exhibit. Cams, cranks, and other bits of engineering drive the creations’ stories into action.

Each sculpture performs an absurd miniature drama that often reflects its maker’s dark and very British sense of humor. Exposed inner workings encourage visitors to investigate the low-tech mechanisms used to make these automata move. Additional exhibits offer a closer look at the most common simple mechanisms.

The Exploratorium’s Curious Contraptions exhibition will run from November 17, 2016–January 29, 2017.

Watch more automata videos on this site, from this Sisyphus kinetic sculpture made with LEGO to Rowland Emett’s Marvelous Dream Machines to The Writer, a 240-year-old, 6000 piece letter writing machine.

via @TinkeringStudio.

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