Tuesday, March 15, 2005
The Secret Life of Machines
Back in the mid-Nineties, I used to block time on the family calendar, ply the kids with Benadryl to knock 'em out, fire up the popcorn maker, unplug the phone, and hunker down in the Jingo Catacombs for the happiest hour of the week: A&E's presentation of The Secret Life of Machines.
I simply couldn't help it, the show hit me right where I'm most vulnerable: Tim Hunkin, this English arty-geek-boy eccentric, narrates amusingly illustrated explications of how common household machines work, how they came to be invented, and the principles of physics they employ.
Try his Secret Life of the Fax Machine; if you're not just 100% beguiled by it, then you and I have nothing further to say. Good day to you, sir. I said, good day.
There's an amusing interview with Hunkin at the B3TA web site.
It's difficult to classify Hunkin as either an artist or a scientist -- his web site announces him as both "engineer" and "cartoonist" -- and this is a great part of his charm. He makes art installations -- full-sized tableaux vivants, working machines, arcade games, interactive exhibits -- that comment very drolly on both science and art, bridging the gap between the two with disarming -- and frequently explosively funny -- humor.
Finally, check out this poster he drew. Way too cool.