October 31, 2023
William Darrell describes his kinetic sculptures as “mechanically abstracted organisms,” animated forms that pulse, shimmy, and spin with lifelike motion. The London-based artist is inspired by the relationship between the organic and the mechanical along with the enticing, mesmerizing qualities of movement that can coax “fear or fascination” from the viewer. “There are cuttlefish that hypnotise their prey in order to catch them,” he says. “As an artist, I follow a similar method.”
Darrell 3D-prints each work to achieve the necessary level of precision. Every component needs to align perfectly to create such methodical, entrancing motions, powered by a single motor and a mix of gears, belts, magnets, cams, and elastic bands. Darrell shares:
I engage in kinaesthetic play with my prototypes, discovering new ways they can revolve and move together. I’m a self-taught engineer, and I always try to do something new that I haven’t seen before. Steadily, they get more complex over time, and sometimes something completely unexpected jumps out at me, bringing on a new wave of development.
The result is a diverse collection of sculptures that meld the form of botanicals with restless animal movements. Reactions “(vary) from viewer to viewer. For some, it’s a purely pleasurable experience, for others too stimulating and even perverse,” he shares.
Watch more of Darrell’s uncanny mechanics on Instagram.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!