Escape Velocity - Poetic Kinetics

CONGRATULATIONS to Patrick Shearn and the Poetic Kinetics team for once again raising the bar for large-scale interactive, kinetic art at this year's Coachella Music and Arts Festival.

The project, Escape Velocity, features a gigantic robotic astronaut with radio-controlled animatronics that articulate it's life-like gestures. The visor is equipped with video projection mapping, allowing for recorded content to be streamed to the audience. This allows participants to interact with the sculpture and have their faces appear on the visor as it traverses the festival grounds.

The design and construction of the astronaut required countless hours of tedious work. Fabrication and fitting tests were conducted at the Poetic Kinetics parking lot in the DTLA Brewery Arts complex.

At the Poetic Kinetics workshop, final adjustments were made to dial in the responsiveness of the forearm and fingers. Aluminum scaffolding was used to keep the sculpture appendages lightweight.

A closer look reveals techniques of digital fabrication to produce the water-jet cut aluminum substructure that comprise the custom hand/finger joint connections.

Highly calibrated connection points made for smooth assembly of the piece at the Coachella Music Festival venue. 

This is a view of the interior framework. Actuators can be seen powering the fingers, wrists, elbows, and shoulders of the sculpture.


The astronaut can be found crowd surfing, amplifying the festival experience.

Festivalgoers and artists can follow the astronaut's adventures via instagram @CoachellaAstronaut.

I feel privileged to have played a part in the debut of this amazing project. Looking forward to more to come.

To see more of the astronaut and other Poetic Kinetic projects, please visit their website:

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