San Francisco’s Exploratorium science center is in the process of moving from its old (beautiful) location at The Palace of Fine Arts to a new location along the water (due to open in mid-April). In the meantime, they’re doing some pop-up exhibits at various events around the city, and I went to one of those. I saw a demo on how to make clouds, an optical illusion exhibit and a few other things but my favorite part was checking out the steampunk-style octopus machine that was on display; it’s made of moving parts and is pretty super awesome.
I didn’t actually get to see it shoot fire, but it does, which you can see in this video from Burning Man 2012:
After finding that video, I did more research and learned that this machine is by an artist named Duane Flatmo and is called El Pulpo Mecanico. From the website:
“The “El Pulpo” is a combination of art and technology melded together. We built this knowing that it would be fun to watch as the giant cam spun up through the center moving the tentacles and eyes in and out while fire spewed from the tentacles and head. No hydraulics or computers were used in this contraption. We built the sculpture primarily out of recycled and used junk found at our local scrap yard.”