Automata at the Exploratorium

by Thomas Beutel

A few months ago Eli and I went to the Exploratorium to see an exhibit on automata. I find they tickle my brain in a curious way, which I guess is what they are supposed to do. It was great to see automata from well known artists like Paul Spooner and Keith Newstead. One thing that stood out for me was how small Spooner’s works are. I had seem them in pictures and they seemed to be much larger. Some of Spooner’s works are downright tiny.

The Exploratorium had a fairly comprehensive collection on display, with a variety of materials represented – wood, wire, paper. Almost all automata artists leave their mechanisms exposed so you can see them. The mechanisms take nothing away from the visual story of the works. Here are a few pictures I took.


Contraband Cat, by Keith Newstead

Sit Up Anubis, by Paul Spooner

Sit Up Anubis, by Paul Spooner


Wire Automata at the Exploratorium