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The Kid Should See This

A Giant Flipbook Machine for the Kanazawa Citizen’s Art Center

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A human-size, hand-cranked flipbook created with a community: This Mobile Studio Architects video showcases a Giant Flip Machine with a split-flap display, designed by Chee-Kit Lai in 2019 for the Kanazawa Citizen’s Art Center in Kanazawa, Japan. It was unveiled in October 2020.

kids cranking the flipbook machine

The animation shows the moment a kingfisher bird dives into the water to catch fish, a phenomenon that inspired Japanese engineer Eiji Nakatsu to improve the design of the bullet train. As the bird dives into the water it breaks the blank surface of the drawing to create a splash of colours.

The project reached a much wider audience than originally intended. This was due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Drawings for the flipbook were received not only from local workshops in Kanazawa but also from remote workshops in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nagano, and London, UK.

the flipbook assembly lit at night
drawing images for the flipbook
watching the flipbook in the park
Mobile Studio Architects created a similar flipbook machine in 2016 for an installation with New Hampshire’s BEAM Camp summer school. This Dezeen video with informative annotations shares that kid-driven project: Universal Play Machine.


flipbooks at night

Watch this next: Juan Fontanive‘s mechanical, looping flipbooks: Vivarium.

Plus: How to make a flipbook.

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