Design Studio

Eli Whitney Museum

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2021 Summer Program

We collect challenges. We look at artists, inventors. and designers and ask: what excited them? what inspired them? Then we collect parts and tools for you to experiment with classic, historic and current challenges. This is the Workshop to discover what inspires you.

~ The Motorized Drawing Machine: An ancient quest: construct a machine that can draw something you could not. Construct your own two armed drawing machine to explore a higher order of complexity. Discover new tricks with our pendulum drawing machines.

~ Analog Programing: from the timeless genius of Leonardo daVinci: Construct a mechanical drum. Compose and play rhythms on percussion instruments you invent. Add dancers.

~ Inventive Relays: a timeless adventure: construct a relay of marbles, dominoes, found objects and imagination. Inspired by Leonardo, Rube Goldberg, and the brilliant creators of the Pythagoras switch.

~ Automata: An ancient quest: Begin with a simple hand crank. Create unusual movements and stories. Take inspiration from the Karakuri [からくり人形] and Mechanical Cabaret traditions, and from the artistry of Arthur Ganson. Crank out your own story.

~ Mutant Vehicles Happening now: Burning Man is a festival that brings together wildly creative spirits in the Nevada desert. The gathering features machines transformed into playful identities like dragons, fish, unicorns. Start with a tiny battery powered chassis and invent your own artful vehicle. Join an end-of-the summer parade.

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