“Beauty is in the power of failure” - Panamarenko
From the early 1970, Panamarenko tried to transpose the vibration mechanism of insects to light, pedal-driven flying machines. According to him, flapping wings could well be the most efficient form of man-powered flying. But although the flapping wing looks simple at first sight, it is much more complex than the fixed wing or the helicopter. Since humans lack a natural mechanism, according to Panamarenko we have to compensate for this by means of a construction that employs our highly developed leg muscles. The various Meganeudons and Umbillys are all founded on the same basic idea: between the power source and the wings is a spring that produces the vibration typical of insect wings. Because both of the wings are linked to the spring, they keep each other in balance and each stroke of the wing is automatically followed by a sprung backstroke. In 1986 Panamarenko built the Encarsia Formosa, named after an ichneumon fly with vibrating wings. He sees the existence of this insect as proof that his wing mechanism is based on a reliable principle.
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Panamarenko, Encarsia Formosa, 1987. Multiple, copper, iron, pvc, electric motor, batteries, 21.5 x 40 x 12.8 cm.
Panamarenko, Meganeudon, 1973. Multiple, fiberglas, hout, plexi, ijzer, motor, 15.3 x 36 x 12.5 cm.
Panamarenko, Fiberglass vleugelstructuur voor Meganeudon, 1970. Object, fiberglass, rope, glue, 213 x 83 x 4 cm.