Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The great kinetic sculpture race, Arcata to Ferndale

Formerly known as the Kinetic Sculpture Race, the Kinetic Grand Championship is a 3-day race in Humboldt County of northern California. The "sculptured" vehicles must be human-powered. Many fall apart during their traverse of city streets, ramps, saltwater bay, mud, sand, and hilly roads. Fun for all.

The race began in 1969, when Ferndale sculptor Hobart Brown challenged artist Jack Mays to a race down Mainstreet. Their kinetic vehicles started a 40-year tradition that has spread to Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Baltimore, Maryland and Perth, Australia. Here are its basic principles:
  1. Develop and encourage artistic human-powered vehicle technology.
  2. Promote and encourage instruction in kinetic art and engineering for all age groups.
  3. Create public art, in all media, including but not limited to visual art, aural art, dance forms, creative dramatics, poetry, lyric arts and emerging media.
  4. Sponsor special events involving public performance of any or all of the above art forms from all parts of the community.
  5. Directly engage in and provide vehicles and facilities so that others may engage in the promotion of the arts.
  6. Demonstrate the benefits of artistic human-powered vehicle technology including: health and well being, reduction of non-renewable fuel sources, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and encouraging critical thinking about global human impact.
  7. Directly promote interchange on artistic human-powered vehicle technology between the first and third worlds.
Prizes are given for
  • Best Speed
  • Best Engineering
  • Best Art
  • ACE -- for completing the race at a higher level of competition with stringent rules
  • Golden Dinosaur -- the sculpture with the most memorable (or first) breakdown
  • Worst Honorable Mention -- for the sculpture whose half-baked theoretical "engineering" did not deter its pilot from the challenge of the race
  • National Mediocre Champion -- the entry with a finishing time closest to the average, once all time penalties are taken into account.
  • Golden Flipper -- the most interesting water entry
  • Best Pit Crew
  • Best Costume(s)
  • Best Bribes
  • Pilots' Choice
  • People's Choice
  • Spirit of the Founder
See also Kinetic Universe, Kinetic Grand Championship (with photo galleries) and Wikipedia.

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