Umbilly I



Object, 238 x 440 x 222 cm .
Materials: steel, wood, tin, plastic, Japanese paper, rubber, glass fibre, epoxy, nylon

Collection: Collection Technische Universiteit, Eindhoven (Inv. no. WV64).

"The crazy thing about these wings is that the first beat yields no power, it's just lost air, but the second beat is much more efficient, because the coming air from the first beat is immediately flapped away, and then, yeah, you're off!" - Panamarenko

This sculpture is an improved version of the Meganeudons and Chisto's that Panamarenko begins developing in the early 1970s.  With the Umbilly, he attempts to further perfect the vibratory mechanism of insect wings.  The fixed-wings of the Meganeudons become replaced by moving wings and, just like the Chisto, the Umbilly too is provided with a spring-element attached to a makrolon polycarbonate frame.  Despite the adaptations, the basic principle remained the same.

'The Umbilly I is really only a 'regular' Meganeudon to which I happened to give the name Umbilly. As to the principle, it's just an insect with vibrating wings, but then more sophisticated.  As energy source to drive the wings, Panamarenko opts for human power.  If you'd use a heavy Volkswagen engine, the whole thing would just tear apart.  But if you set things in motion by pedaling, then you have a much better understanding of what's happening or should happen. With a motor, you don't get this kind of information because it just keeps turning...' - Panamarenko

(source: Hans Willemse and Paul Morrens, in: 'Copyright Panamarenko', 2005)

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