A celebration of the sexes

January 31, 2007

rockingmachineMedicom Life is distributing the re-production of Herman Makkink‘s “Rocking Machine” chair made famous by A Clockwork Orange. Having just completed an exhaustive month doing up my portfolio, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the intersection of art and design -and ultimately the trajectory of my future within it. Here’s a quote from the artist on the creation of the iconic piece and the inclusion of it in the film that I found quite amusing and apt:

The Rocking Machine and the Christ Unlimited figures were not designed especially for A Clockwork Orange. They formed part of my studio work at the time, and, after seeing them there, Kubrick wanted to use them for the film because they probably had the futuristic look he and his wife wanted.

In the late sixties and early seventies, we, London based artists, felt terribly hip. We didn’t want to fight the establishment so much as shock them.

Pop Art was in full swing and so was the sexual revolution, so I combined a penis with a beautifully shaped female rear in fibre glass. I thought this would be really shocking. I thought I could make the object move by constructing a heavy pendulum swing inside. To my surprise I found that it made an irregular movement, so I exaggerated that by adding extra weights in various places. That resulted in Rocking Machine’s specific jerky motion.”

That jerky motion is forever imprinted on my brain. Hilarious! A marvel of physics, industrial design and art, all at once. But the question still remains: Functional and pragmatic design vs. the fantastical and arty? I should think that both can co-exist.


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