Meikever (Maybug) & Aluminaut
Panamarenko (°1940, Antwerpen) built his first Maybug in 1968. The little animal was fitted with an electric motor and wings constructed from iron wire and cellophane. This version here was built in 1975. He used it in a performance in a circus tent on Place Flagey, Brussels. Dressed in the robes of a Chinese wizard, he carried a red typewriter case with him that held his homemade giant Maybug. The mechanical beetle was connected by a cable to a battery, also located in the case. An electric motor with a concealed propeller beneath the wing-cases caused the wings to move. During the performance, Panamarenko made the Maybug take off, its wings flapping noisily. The bug lost its balance and crashed to the floor. Although repaired, it would never fly again and became a museum exhibit. This illustrates Panamarenko’s approach to his mechanical designs.
In 1970, the artist made a drawing for a design for a robot title Aluminaut. It wasn’t until 2004 that he put the sketch into practice and built a functioning robot out of it, called Arlikoop. He took Arlikoop to the North Pole to shoot several short films with it.