Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Popular Mechanics gets Kinetic

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 3:05 PM


Popular Mechanics, the magazine for wrench-wielding nerds, features a story this week on our very own mega-exaltation of artsy mechanical nerdity: the Kinetic sculpture race (in case you needed telling).

And, somewhat self-consciously and perhaps in need of explaining his attention to this costumed, joyous absurdity, author James Vlahos asks:

"Why would people spend hundreds of hours to create all-terrain racing sculptures?"

Then he answers with PM gusto:

"The obvious answer is because kinetic racing is fun, but the rationale goes deeper than that. Events like the Kinetic Grand Championship attract both studio artists and grease-stained engineers with the same intoxicating lure: an oddball challenge whose arbitrary constraints inspire wonderfully unconventional solutions. The mandate that all entries be human-powered makes the race more accessible to students and hobbyists. And the no-engines rule gives the race a third component besides artistic design and mechanical engineering-human sweat."

Read Vlahos' story, "Burning Man Meets Daytona: California's Crazy Gonzo Race," yourself.

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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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