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I stumbled across an article recently about this young man, James Capper, in the U.K., who combines his love of hydraulics and engineering with his art. His movable sculptures use hydraulic cylinders to move throughout his exhibitions. There are no wheels on his devices, just platforms or legs that walk with the power of hydraulics. They look something like a cross between a tractor or excavator with a walking robotic machine.

This is not the first artist to use hydraulics to power his sculptures. The folks at Les Machines De L’Ile, Nantes, France, demonstrated an amazing walking elephant that is controlled via hydraulics. But Capper’s art doesn’t look like an animal or art even. It looks like a strange version of a machine we’re all familiar with seeing on construction site or farms.

Capper describes his sculptures in a way many people probably don’t think of when they think about hydraulics: “What it’s capable of is very graceful choreography of an object moving through space,” he explains in the video. Because of its tendency towards high-power density, I am sure this is an unusual description of hydraulic power but when you see his machines move, it makes sense.

By Mary Gannon