What is it?
Chimera is an interactive kinetic sculpture modeled after the ornithopter, a flying mechanism which flaps its wings like a bird. The personality of the sculpture, and its apparent form, change depending upon the angle at which it is viewed. Viewed from one angle, it seems to be a winged creature, whereas from another angle, it calls to mind a spider. At a third angle, it appears to be a sea creature with flippers.
How does it work
The sculpture is activated through a handle on the front of a wheel which, when turned, transmits motion throughout the sculpture, bringing the wings to life. The wing motion has an ethereal smoothness unfamiliar in mechanical objects. The wings move simultaneously, and at the same pace, but are at different stages of the flapping progression, creating a wave-like rhythm.
Outreach and engagement
The sculpture is an artifact of art and engineering, and brings technological processes together with forms from the natural world. Although what is created is of this world, it also seems otherworldly, or, if of this world, of an era far in the earth’s past—perhaps the Cretaceous Era, which submerged large parts of the earth into a shallow sea?
I designed this project to be scalable to both site and budgetary conditions. Although this piece might seem overly ambitious given its current budget, the modular structure of the sculpture allows for easy reconfiguration of pieces, which can allow for expansion or contraction as needed.
While it might seem to be a daunting piece to install, I have experience installing similar works at Nam June Paik Art Center and the Han River Art Project in Seoul, South Korea. My prior work includes other techno-organic structures, which have required similar installation strategies.