Giant car crushing robotic hand needs a new home
What fun this would be. A giant mechanical hand sits amid a litter of destroyed automobiles awaiting its next victim.
At last month's Robodock festival, untrained volunteers used the complex technological work of art to pick up and crush shopping carts, cars and even a small van. Soon, the huge robotic hand might be sold for scrap metal, a perfectly normal death for a piece brought to life at the annual Amsterdam art fest.
The hand in question is 25 feet long, weighs 5,000 pounds and was built in just 12 days entirely out of scrap and recycled parts by the international team of Doyle Shuge, Justin Gray, Conrad Karlson and Jens Schendel, under the direction of veteran "machine performance" artist Christian Ristow of Robochrist Industries.
The fingers are segments of old I beams, the forearm is the modified truss of an ancient digging machine, and the entire hydraulic system was assembled from junkyard salvage. Plumbing and cables were ripped from the walls of the old shipbuilding warehouse where the hand was constructed.
Anybody can crush big things with the giant hand.
When I first came to Robodock last year, I decided that what was missing was audience interactivity, and violence.
During Robodock, Ristow waves to a young man standing in line. The lucky festivalgoer climbs the chain ladder to the operator's tower, inserts his hand into a custom control armature, and proceeds to pick up and crush an old Renault van.
The hand moves slowly, grindingly, making ominous groaning noises and dripping hydraulic fluid as its closing fist mangles the vehicle. The operator lifts the remains of the van 20 feet off the ground, gives it a final crunching squeeze as huge, rusty fingernails shatter the windshield, then drops it to the concrete. The crowd cheers wildly.
"That was awesome," says the man as he walks away from the robot and the carcass of the van. "Such a feeling of power!" He's got a weird grin on his face, but then it's not every day you can crush a car with your hand.
Bizarre and unusual... | Giant car crushing robotic hand needs a new home |