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Kinetica Art Fair

Art and tech collide in a London exhibit devoted to the beauty of motion

by Leonora Oppenheim in Culture on 04 February 2011

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At the entrance of the Kinetica Art Fair a confusing installation—a wall of brightly-lit exit signs—greets visitors. The exhibition gets no less paradoxical once you enter as life-like skeletons with crow skulls gesture and click their beaks above in amazingly realistic ways (though their bodies are actually robotic arms built by Dutch artist Christiaan Zwanikken).

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An unusual event now in its third year, this London fair brings together kinetic, electronic, robotic, sound and light art works. Our first thought was that it's a physical coming to life of the One Dot Zero Robotica film that we saw last year, which as it happens is also showing at Kinetica. An edgy underground atmosphere pervades the exhibition, both literally, being held in the vast basement space of the Ambika P3 gallery, and stylistically with a host of international artists who are, in the best sense, geektastic.

Robotic and kinetic works especially summon images of hours tinkering in workshops to make these extraordinary creations. For example, a robotic arm capable of drawing or, one of my favorites, the handsome Interference Machine by Norwegian artist Kristoffer Myskja—a toy that makes two glasses filled with water sing by substituting a robot for a fingertip to rub the rim of the glass.

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Overall, the impression at Kinetica was a celebration of the intricate delicacy of technology, not only in robotics but also a chirping egg nest light by Tomomi Sayuda, infinitely reflected LED light works by Hans Kotter, and even in digitally-cut clothing. Skin Graph, a new fashion label, uses the 3D topographical data from our bodies, tracing the contours of our physical form to create bespoke leather clothing—in effect, a second skin.

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Those in London can check out the show through 6 February 2011.

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