Reuben Margolin – on kinetic art


bellow phone

More progress – learning to weld etc

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Some early progress photos

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Sorry for lack of progress posts

Sorry for the lack of progress posts but my MA final project is finished and exhibited. I made a pedal powered dining machine in 8 weeks that has been on exhibition for the last 4 weeks. I will endeavour to post lots of photos but might not actually get any descriptions of the process written up.

Practical progress – mechanical dining experience

I know it doesn’t look much, but Rome wasn’t built in a day!

We dismantled my first rig and rebuilt it with stronger dexion and fixed top and bottoms. The height is now higher to give the participant the feeling of sitting at a dining table like a child. The next step is to adjust the pedal crank to allow for easier pedalling while seated.

The over all plan is to create several mechanical movements to facilitate dining actions with cutelry and mechanical elements to manipulate the delivery and display of the food. Ultimately the roving interactive sculpture will be given a decorative aesthetic steam punk/mad max treatment to add to the theatrics of the live art presentation.



Many thanks to my lovely assistant and mechanical genius Ian.

Better late than never…

I know it’s early May, but I am now embarking upon the practicalities of my final MA project. I have written a document which outlines a synopsis/motivation around the intended piece of work.

This has followed a meeting with a director Gerald Fox and performer Andy Train to thrash out my ideas and give me some more ‘meat on the bone’ material to work with. I shall attempt to post the recording of the discussion with Gerald and Andy on here too.

Anyway here follows my notes from this morning to outline my intentions.

MA module 5, final project – May 2013

Working titles ‘ The Café Mechanical’, and ‘The Incredible Mechanical Café’.

Synopsis and motivations.


This piece is a satirical parody poking fun at the British desire to replicate continental al fresco dining experience. It aims to highlight the absurdity of the pomp and circumstance around ‘fine dining’ and the nature of nouveau cuisine.

Live art (street theatre) in an outdoor public setting is about taking art to the masses and to usual art non-appreciators, this work aims not only to do that, but to side with the section of society that is not the bourgeoisie or people that are associated with the exclusive high arts. This work aims to paint a satirical picture of the trapping of western capitalist society emulating and aspiring to a lifestyle of the upper classes.

When eating s a basic fundamental human need and is often surrounded in ritual and ceremony, this proposed piece of street theatre is attempting to ridicule the apparent elevated status of dining and by the use of comedy belittle the attempts of the upper classes and nouveau riche to follow such practices.


This proposed piece will involve two facilitator/actors who’s primary job is to animate and facilitate the piece of mechanical visual arts element. It was decided in a discussion/brainstorming session that the whole piece will be visual arts led and although inspired and motivated by some dramatic notions and performance ideas, it will be the nature and the practicalities of the sculptural piece that will inform and lead the scripting and dramatic narrative development.

It is proposed that the resultant sculptural piece will be mobile and transportable, that it will act as the set/stage around which the dramatic presentation will happen. It was discussed that the performance might be in the round with no perceived proscenium arch as such.

Also suggested was the idea of creative individual mechanical components/tools/gadgets that audience members can operate, creating a visual specticle and a possible sound scape/percussion element to the performance.

Any props and costumes, it was discussed, should be bizarre, ridiculous and over the top in its’ design, thus accentuating the ridiculousness and absurdity of the subject matter.

It was also decided to stay away from any real food elements due to health and safety problems and well as dealing with any mess, but to focus upon the theatrical nature of the absurdity surrounding food preparation and serving.


I will research and design a roving street theatre piece of mechanical sculpture that is inspired by continental al fresco dining and the overcomplicated nature of food preparation. I will explore the individual possibilities of certain types of mechanical movement and actions around food preparation, to inform the moving mechanical elements.

I would prefer to keep the whole piece hand operated, mechanical, clockwork, and not to involve any kind of electrical power generated elements for this piece.

I aim to produce some visual research, exploratory sketches, design work and also to prototype some individual elements in actual 3D.

The continuation from Useless cutlery…

I see this piece being closely related and applicable to my original MA proposal as set out in module one. I also see this piece as a progression from the useless cutlery project pursued during 2013.

Pedal powered feeding machine.

Thank for reading and watch this space for further progress updates.