Gestural Engineering

Cory's Yellow Chair, by Arthur Ganson, 1997 (watch video here)

The MIT Museum in Cambridge is a celebration of science and technology, showcasing a range of discoveries made by campus researchers. The ground floor hosts a fascinating collection of holograms, representing "historical breakthroughs and state-of-the-art techniques". Adjacent to that is an in-depth exhibit about brilliant work in nanotechnology. Interactive portals, designed to engage and educate the public, describe how that research will impact our day-to-day life in the future.

You leave the museum with a deeper understanding of the culture behind scientific discovery. Arthur Ganson's one-person exhibit, Gestural Engineering, is an essential piece of that understanding. His elegant sculptures distill the spirit of invention. Each poetic machine tells its own story by combining miniature props (dollhouse chairs, a garden of rice grains) with the world of machines (gears, springs, oiled steel, and a symphony of whirring sounds).

"We read objects in motion on both the objective and subjective levels," says Ganson. "A machine may be about fabric or grease, but it may also be about thick liquid and sensuous movement. A bit deeper, it may be about meditation or the sense of release. And taken yet another step, it may be about pure invention and the joyfulness in the heart of its creator."

The machinery is as intricate as the inner workings of medieval clocks; the props evoke the world of a toymaker; the narrative element reminded me of the humor of a puppeteer. In the context of the MIT Museum, Ganson's world articulates the sense of delight that makes science so engaging.


1 comment:

  1. I've never seen anything like this before, really intellectually stimulating.