Featured Art

Toxoplasmosis: Mechanical Cats in Motion

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought this post might amuse. Toxoplasmosis was a collaborative project with Geoffrey Lillemon and Mike Pelletier at Random Studios.

The concept and idea were taken from projects such as the kinetic walkers called Strandbeest that Theo Jansen developed.  However, these devices were made with small Adreno control motors for locomotion.  The cats were all drawn in Illustrator.  The challenge, of course, would be if the cut-outs of the cats made on Illustrator really worked as a moving piece of art.

Twelve animated cats were cut out using a laser on sheet metal and then projected with LCD back lighting behind a window.  The results were fantastic.

“For the window installation we used a LCD projector to rear-project on the window. This gave the psychedelic cats an animated backdrop for the silhouettes, as well the opportunity to add some extra animated effects to the silhouettes such as eye blinks. They coated the windows with lacquer to create the projection surface.”

The results were similar to nostalgic shadow puppets in a window similar to the work done by Lotte Reiniger.

“The main graphic inspiration for this project was Lotte Reiniger’s 1926’s film “The Adventures of Prince Achmed”. We wanted to create a physical, kinetic sculpture inspired by the strong graphic silhouettes found in her films. The sculptures were created from laser-cut plywood and we used custom dc and servo motor controllers to drive the animations.”


Toxoplasmosis – Mike Pelletier


3 replies »

  1. I totally agree. What a great take on shadow puppetry! There seems to be no limit to human creativity, is there? There is a Michelangelo or Twyla Tharpe around every corner… if we will just open our eyes and let this stuff into our hearts.

    7 stars out of 5, yet again! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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