Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race

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We missed it this year, but it looks like the 2007 Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race was great fun! On Saturday, May 5, Kinetic Sculpture enthusiasts gathered from far and wide on the shore of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in central Maryland to partake in an eight-hour race that covered 15 miles on pavement, mud, sand and water.

In its purest form, the term kinetic sculpture refers to a class of moving art that originated in Europe, but became internationally popular from the late 1950s through 1960s. The moving parts of a kinetic sculpture can be powered by anything from wind to the maker’s hand, but a sculpture that is to be raced must cary the artist with it and be entirely human-powered. As you can see by the photos the race participants have come up with some very creative and interesting contraptions to race. More photos can be seen here.

The awards contestants can win for their efforts are extremely entertaining and include prizes for such off-the-wall categories as “Sock Creature of the Universe”, “Golden Flipper”, and “Worst Honorable Mention”. The grand prize bestows upon its winner the esteemed title of “Grand East Coast National Mediocre Champion”.

It is highly suggested that spectators refer to Karen Wallace’s Kinetic Costuming Guide when putting together their outfit for the day, and they are expected to abide by the “Official Spectator Code Of Conduct“, which states:

  • Hands, equipped with white gloves should be waved VIGOROUSLY over head whenever viewing Kinetic Sculptures or when on camera.
  • Tall Spectators must take care to stand in back row when witnessing Glorious Events. On no account should Spectators throw their bodies in the path of oncoming Sculptures.
  • Cardboard Grin must be worn at all times when personal misery or state of mind interferes with maintaining a normal happy smile.
  • Be sure to remove lens cap from camera before serious picture-taking.
  • Eat a good breakfast for extra stamina for the day’s rigorous events.
  • Littering, if it fits your character, is OK. However, see Official Spectator Code of Conduct rule #10.
  • Refrain from pushing or otherwise assisting Sculptures while Race Officials are watching.
  • Do not tie up Port-a-Potties in order to apply makeup or to eat lunch or to escape inclement weather.
  • You are a Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Spectator Ambassador to the World. Remember that local, national, and international cameras are on you (your mother is watching). It is your Kinetic Duty to represent our Glorious City with Dignity and Distinction.
  • At the end of the day, Spectators shall pick up all litter, depositing same in suitable receptacles. Kinetic Sculpture Race Officials, Pilots, Pit Crew, Barnacles, and Spectators are very tidy people. Furthermore, this is the only Glorious City we’ve got to race in. If you are derelict in your Spectator Duties, this Glorious race will be banished from this Glorious Kingdom of Baltimore.

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