As well as imposing craft, as from the end of the 1990s Panamarenko also built small but intelligent birds and walking robots. The intelligence of the mechanics – with relays, servos and microchips – is directly in proportion to the refinement of their execution. In 2004 Panamarenko built Vogelmarkt (Bird Market), a poetic installation of three tables with an sun-awning as the setting for a demonstration of three walking chickens. The three birds in vivid colours are equipped with a small electric motor powered by a battery. The birds’ stepping mechanism refers back to the 1994 work Knikkebeen, an insect-like device on long aluminium legs that enable it to walk around more easily in the Swiss mountains. Panamarenko’s first fully-developed project for a robot was shown in an early drawing from 1970. It was only in 2004 that he decided to carry out the design as a working robot. In the summer of that year he took the device, called Arlikoop, with him to the North Pole, where he shot a series of films of it with the vast fields of snow and ice as a backdrop.
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Panamarenko, Arlikoop, 2004. Object, polystyrene, metal, optical lens, electric motor, servos, 117 x 28 x 26 cm.
Panamarenko, Cocotaxi bis, 2005. Object, metal, wood, clay, silver paint, electric motor and battery, 33 x 16 x 19 cm.
Knikkebeen [Crooked Leg]
Panamarenko, Knikkebeen [Crooked Leg], 1994. Object, aluminium, leather,motor, 170 x 100 x 210 mm.
Panamarenko, Boela Matari, 2001. Object, wood, metal, clay, electric cells, 30 x 40 x 15 cm.