Massive Yawn

I went to Bruce Mau‘s Massive Change exhibit at the AGO on Sunday. Mistake.

My defining experience of the show wasn’t actually meant to be part of the exhibit. In the ‘Massive Café’, there were vacuum-flask coffee dispensers. If you put your cup in the round cup guide, the dispensed coffee missed the cup. They had been set up wrongly, and like the rest of the show, it was half-assed and missed the mark.

The energy section was a joke. Dominating the room was some awful hybrid vertical-axis wind turbine, with both a Savonius rotor and an aerofoil at the edge. That would be like yoking a cart horse to a thoroughbred; neither would work well together. The tiny generator at the bottom was an indication of the measly amount of power they expected to get out. The rest of the room was the usual gee-whiz “Hydrogen and Stirling Engines will Save The World!” stuff. Z.

The Transportation room was equally amusing. Three of the personal vehicles featured have been less than successful: the Myers Sparrow (whose previous incarnation, the Corbin Sparrow, went bankrupt), the Twike (again, reported to have gone into receivership), and best of all, the Sinclair C5. If you’re from the UK, and about my age, you’ll remember the C5 as a total sales, marketing and design disaster. Sir Clive Sinclair, who could previously do no wrong, became a laughing-stock because of it.

Also in the transport section, they featured a bike rickshaw and a bicycle stretcher-bearer. It was fairly obvious that these bikes were based on 19th century technology, as they were heavy roadsters, possibly even sensible bicycles. And this is massive how?

The ‘Massive Thinkers’ gallery featured such luminaries as Sam Walton. And selling cheap crap is massive how? Massive parking lots?

There were also numerous typos in the signage. C’mon guys, get a Massive Spelling Checker!

In the Transport section, they could have featured transit systems, and perhaps featured HPVs from Brompton (inter-modal folding goodness), Moulton (wee wheels and spaceframes), Leitra (fully-enclosed velomobiles) and HP Veloteknik (much recumbentness). In energy, they could have posed the question, “Do we really need always-on power, since we’ve had it for less than 1% of the history of civilisation?”

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