"Instrument Man," by Carlos Zapata. Eleven artists from around the world contributed to the Exploratorium exhibit, which opened Friday.
"Everlasting Love," by Colombian-born, United Kingdom–based Carlos Zapata. The artist uses materials that have already lived other lives-- like reclaimed wood and scrap metal -- to create colorful narratives.
"Curious Contraptions" includes 30 absurdist sculptures known as automata.
"The Day of the Dead Band," by Wanda Sowry. Most of the artist's work is unpainted, emphasizing the natural colors in the different types of wood she selects.
Complex systems of low-tech gears and levers power anatomical movements of the automata on display at the Exploratorium.
On the move, thanks to cranks and gears: the mythical "Dieselpunk Pegasus" by Keith Newstead. "Automata," the artist says, "is really about exploring and inventing mechanisms that re-create some movement you might find in life."
"Boneshakers" by Matt Smith. The mechanical sculptures convey colorful and sometimes emotionally expressive miniature narratives.
"An Allegory of Love" by Paul Spooner.
"The Banana Ripener" by Paul Spooner. Spooner built a wooden clock, a wooden steam engine, and weaving looms for his wife before taking up automata as an art form in 1981.
A closer look at the mechanics of "The Banana Ripener" sculpture.
The "Curious Contraptions" exhibit runs through Jan. 28 at San Francisco's Exploratorium.