The “Moving” Monument
October 3, 2011
For last year’s Bauhaus Color Festival in Dessau, Germany, the renowned French art group La Machine installed this towering kinetic sculpture, complete with hanging vegetation, propellers, fins, and balloons. Dubbed the Aeroflorale II, the 18-meter tall skeletal structure is the latest iteration in La Machine’s long list of theatrical projects, which seek to realize da Vinci’s theoretical machines, particularly his whimsical flying apparatuses, using the industrial aesthetic of Eiffel’s 19th-century iron constructions and the fantastical narrative of Jules Verne’s imaginary chronicles.
Like its predecessors, which include a moving metal spider and an iron elephant, Aeroflorale II is a mechanized beast, which, though obviously incapable of movement, is animated by its spinning gadgetry. According to La Machine, the alien creature has just landed from a world-wide “botanical expedition” to gather crops and plant life towards finding alternative energy sources. Conceit aside, the design clearly owes much to Tatlin’s visionary work, alluding both to the steel work of the latter’s iconic Monument to the Third International and the aerodynamic aesthetic of his designs for an ornithopter (“Letatlin“).