Mechanical Sculptures by Paul Spooner That Depict Absurd Scenes With a Wicked Sense of Humor

Paul Spooner is a very funny, plain-spoken, British automata artist whose very clever, hand-crafted work depicts wonderfully dark and absurd scenes that repeatedly place with the simple winding of a handle. Spooner’s and other works from The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre are on display as part of the “Curious Contraptions” exhibition and workshop at the Exploratorium in San Francisco that takes place November 17, 2016 through January 29, 2017.

Each sculpture performs an absurd miniature drama that often reflects its maker’s dark and very British sense of humor. Exposed inner workings encourage visitors to investigate the low-tech mechanisms used to make these automata move. Additional exhibits offer a closer look at the most common simple mechanisms. This special exhibition features more than 20 charming and often hilarious mechanical sculptures known as automata. Their whimsical characters are brought to life by intricate arrangements of cams, cranks, and other simple mechanisms.