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Maker Faire 2008 | Trash Cookies

Maker Faire 2008

Posted on 13 June 2008 by LoryGil

On May 3rd, 2008 tech geeks from all over Northern California gathered to celebrate tetrabites and giant robots. San Mateo hosted the third Annual Maker Faire, a place where every one from circuit board rewirers to Burning Man artists could put their differences aside and bond over all things DIY.  All things were DIY, and all things were worth celebrating.

MobileCupcake

Maker Faire started in 2006 when O’ Reily Media Group, creators of Make Magazine, put together a weekend long festival for inventors and artists to display their creations. It’s first year, there were 20,000 in attendance, and last year, over 40,000. This year, an estimated 65,000 showed up to see what the hubbub was all about 

Around the back, at the will-call entrance, I first saw mobile cupcakes and a car covered in felt-tip pens, and that was just a few feet from the gate. As I walked down the thuroughfair, I was greeted by a giant, talking skull made of circuit boards and almost run over a by solar powered, 20-foot-tall…well, I don’t know exactly what it was, but it was awesome. 

Pencar

Off in the distance, I could see (and hear) some sort of explosion. Against all rational judgment, I ran to see what it was. A fire truck was letting off a little steam, or propane gas as it were, to the enjoyment of nearby children who were grasping their ears in fear.

To my left, I noticed two enormous, looming figures made out of metal chains and various junk parts. It turns out they were made by artists Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito. Their 30-foot-tall figures, titled Crude Awakening, were first seen at Burning Man in 2007.  A third figure was placed in what I assume to be the fire section of the fair. This sculpture of a kneeling woman with her hands raised to the sky had small explosions jetting out of her chest which released fireballs that sent heat waves as much as 20 feet away. The powerful imagery if the figure engulfed in flames was beautiful enough to make the two-hour long wait for parking worth it.

But that wasn’t the only mind-blowing thing I saw that day. In fact, lurking right behind me while I watched the burning woman was a gigantic tri-pedal sculpture titled I.T. by Michael Christian. Christian is also a favored artist at Burning Man who brought some of his work to Maker Faire. Although there is whining on the interweb about I.T. being too much like Maman by Louise Bourgeios, I think it looks a lot more like the aliens from the 2005 movie, War of the Worlds.

crudeawakening

There were also lots of wacky, handmade bicycles riding around, and one buscycle. The buscycle is a pedal-powered, 15-person vehicle created in Boston in 2005 by a group of over 50 volunteers. In the mobile transport category, there was also a steam-powered, moving Victorian house called the Neverwas Haus. That’s right, I said moving Victorian house. Man, those Steam Punks really know how to party!

In the Dark Room, my eyes were treated to LED bikes, recreated lightening and a laser harp. The concept of the laser harp is that musical tones are created by breaking the light ray of the laser. There was also a computer projected onto a wipe-board that you could actually use by touching the board. The Dark Room was great, but really crowded, so I got outta there pretty quick.

Out near the Steam Punk section, Mark Perez built his infamous life-sized mousetrap, fashioned after the childhood game, Mousetrap. Perez attempted to get a bowling ball to roll along the path of stairs, ladders, chutes (or would that be chutes and ladders) and ramps. I arrived a few minutes before it’s scheduled start time, but after half-an-hour of waiting while they fixed problems, I got cranky and walked away. But not before I saw the two-ton safe accidentally fall from its post, dangling 10 feet in the air. At least that was pretty cool.

By far, the best part of the faire was Eepybird’s Diet Coke and Mentos Bellagio Fountain recreation.  Using 200 liters of Diet Coke and 500 Mentos mints, Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz create a beautiful display based off of the Bellagio fountain inn Los Vegas. After ten minutes of unscrewing two-liters, Grobe and Voltz were soaked in Diet Coke (as were many in the crowd) and the hours of set-up finally fizzed out.

Maker Faire is a wonderful festival where nerds, Steam Punks and artists come together and throw inhibitions to the wind to link arms and bet on their favorite robot in the robot wars.  It will happen again, so keep your eyes out next year in the early summer. www.makerfaire.com.


 

2 Comments For This Post

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  1. Jeff O. Says:

    I’m definitely going to check this out next year! My brother stuck around long enough to see them get the mouse trap to work. You can see it work over here.

  2. Jaz Says:

    I tried Mentos and Coke and all I got was sticky jeans… Just like any other night at home.

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