Mechatronic Metal Balls

BMW has modernised and re-opened its vanity museum in Munich last month. I don´t usually care too much for real BMWs but I can´t ignore their attitude to spend lots of money on outlandish concept cars and flashy publicity stunts.

Two of their latest, viral image campaigns are particularly outlandish and flashy: The fabric covered and shapeshifting GINA concept is the most amazing car since FAB 1. The moment when GINA opens its bonnet for us is positively obscene! GINA is on display at the Museum and I wonder how "she" looks outside of a perfectly lit film studio (I also wonder if the fabric would make flapping noises on the Autobahn?).

Although, judging by the second featured attraction, I expect GINA to be presented in the best posible light and far out of touch, hidden from closer looks.

The so called "Kinetic Sculpture" baffles the visitor with a 6 minute choreography of 712 "flying" metal balls, constantly re-grouping and morphing to form abstract, flowing images and car-shapes (to remind us of where we are).

A similar work, on a much smaller and less sophitsicated scale was already done by artist Joe Gilbertson. His kinetic sculpture "Tryptich" is composed of 300 balls, suspended from an intricate, motorized machination that constantly moves the balls up and down. The soothing look of the effect is disturbed by the relatively loud noise of the complicated machine.

BMW probably threw tons of money at a horribly named company called "art+com" who took the idea to the next level. The over 700 balls are attached to thin wires which are invisibly connected to an undoubtedly complicated machinery that moves each ball individually and computer-aided on the vertical axis.

Sure, the effect is very nice and haunting, but the purpose of this "mechatronic installation" is diminished by the constant forming of BMW-resembling-models and the boring and painfully unfunny projection of buzz-words such as "innovation", "competence", bla bla bla.

But that´s what you get when you turn to a company that´s called art+com. What sort of name is that? Would you still go to a hairdresser with the word "art" or "avantgarde" on the name plate? Or would you expect having a great night-out in a club called "Old Daddy"? Thought so!

This is a video of the full 6:30 minute lasting cycle.

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