Patterson Park–and the rest of the city–saw strange visitors last week in the form of kinetic sculptures–artistic, wheeled, human-powered vehicles designed to move through streets, sand and water–last weekend.
The American Visionary Art Museum’s annual Kinetic Sculpture Race brought “Chessie” the lake monster, an elephant named “Bumpo,” a huge Golden Retriever (or Yellow Lab) called “Good Dog,” a very lengthy crocodile, and other oddities before adoring spectators on Saturday, May 3.
The 14-mile race takes about eight hours, starting and finishing at AVAM. A large portion of the course is in southeast Baltimore, as contestants race the length of Aliceanna St. and down Boston St, concluding in a “Splashdown” at Canton Waterfront Park before they head back up Kenwood Ave. and loop through Patterson Park before leaving the Southeast via Lombard St. and making their way back to AVAM.
The race is filled with silly rules. For example, each kinetic sculpture must have its own “sock creature,” and the best one wins a prize. Prizes are also awarded for speed, engineering and other categories. The overall winner of the race is the “Grand Mediocre Champion,” the sculpture that finishes in the exact middle of the pack.
The “Golden Dinosaur” is awarded to the sculpture with the most spectacular breakdown; the sculpture with the “most interesting” water entry wins the “Golden Flipper” Award.
This year’s Grand Mediocre champion was “Tick Tock the Crock,” a train-like crocodile vehicle about to swallow a clock.
Fantastic photos and more information are available at kineticbaltimore.com.
by Erik Zygmont