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Bird of Paradise




Bird of Paradise

120" x 27" x Up to 110"
aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, fiberglass, epoxy resin, mechanical components

The product of three years' work, this automaton portrays a mechanical bird struggling with the limits imposed by its artificial nature. Standing on the edge of a tree stump -- (what is left of the Nature it cannot hope to replace) -- it tries in vain to fly away but instead is forced to return.

The mechanism pays homage to classical automata of the 18th century, perhaps most notably Jacques de Vaucanson's mechanical duck. Powered by a single motor at a constant speed, the movement, conveyed by cables into the bird's body, is shaped by 13 cams, each of which encodes the action for a single axis of motion. The bird call is achieved with a small slide whistle located in the head, which is operated by the mouth and a set of bellows in the bird's belly.

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