Insect Art On Wheels

Fire Ant Kinetic sculpture at the 2012 Grand Kinetic Championship
Photo: Holly Yashi

The Kinetic Grand Championship is a 3-Day race held in every Memorial Day Weekend. The race combines art with human powered vehicles over “water mud and sand”. The race is promoted as “The Triathlon of the Art World”. Contestants create kinetic art sculptures that must be powered through the challenging 42 mile course from Arcata to Ferndale, California.

The art is free form with a variety of themes, some of them biological. This year featured an insect-themed “Fire Ant”. Unlike a real fire ant, that has a stinger with venom on the end of its abdomen, the kinetic art merely shoots flames out the rear. The Kinetic Fire Ant can float and move through the water. Real fire ants have been observed to float by forming a mass of ants in the water. The ants on the bottom remain afloat by trapping bubbles of air.

The race looks like grand fun. Video below:

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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1 Response to Insect Art On Wheels

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