Description: Hackday – Victorian style!
Start Time: 11:30
End Time: 18:00
Booking: Book a spot!
Catch the Victorian spirit of ingenious and fantastical mechanical invention by making a low-tech automaton controlled by cams, cogs and levers. There won’t be a microchip in sight!
Using pre-made components, participants will construct a basic crank and camshaft-powered mechanism. This skeletal mechanism is the experimental springboard to design and create an automaton powered by hand. It can be hacked around in any way – and more complex mechanisms built-on.
A variety of mechanical parts, construction and decorative materials will be provided. Please bring a bag of bits and pieces (nothing heavy though!). Tins, small boxes, odd little bits of wood, small old toys, curious found objects and old Xmas tree baubles – or anything that could be used to create whacky kinetic designs – are all good!
Creative ideas will most likely be sparked by playing around with the movements and harnessing their intrinsic characteristics. Fantasy, mischievousness and experimentation will be the order of the day.
About workshop leader Stephen Guy
Stephen has been involved with automata for many years, having first discovered them at Cabaret Mechanical Theatre when it had a permanent home in London’s Covent Garden.
He specialises in devising automata workshops for museums, science centres, colleges and schools – including London’s Science Museum, the V&A, the Design Museum – and of course Cabaret. He has run experimental mechanical theatre courses at Rose Bruford College, and co-founded Fire the Inventor to promote the culture of making.
His fascination with automata is rooted in the alliance of free artistic licence with the discipline of engineering, and the idea of machines as performers and entertainers. Best of all, he likes how – with a little ingenuity and an open mind – the simplest mechanisms can produce amazing results.
Check out one of his past workshops here.
Ye Olde Hack Day is part of ‘The Ghosts of St Pauls’ – a series of MadLab events about the history of the Northern Quarter, supported by an ‘All Our Stories’ grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
All Our Stories is a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – and is designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups are carrying out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.