Anthropomorphic Machine

STELARC, Psyche Hou (Designer), Qiushi Zhou (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formDesignResearch


The Anthropomorphic Machine is an interactive art installation presented as part of the Swarm exhibition at the Science Gallery Melbourne from August 2022 to June 2023. The research was a two-year collaborative project by Dr Paul Loh and David Leggett (LLDS architects) in collaboration with the artist STELARC. The project consists of an 8-meter-tall stainless-steel primary structure with a circular ring boom and supporting struts at the top from which the tensegrity "cloud" is suspended The structure sits on the raised floor of the Gallery on a tripod support structure with baseplates. The tensegrity "cloud" is 8 meters in diameter and consists of 204 tensegrity cells. It is suspended 4 meters off the ground using 5mm diameter stainless-steel cables. Twelve pneumatic rubber muscles actuate the "cloud", each 2.5m long, that take advantage of the dynamic quality of the tensegrity to create a set of choreographed movements. During the installation, three independent pieces of performance art were created by different artists to interact with the installation. This research utilised the high deflection of the system to produce an interactive artwork with computer vision to automate the tensegrity structure. The project developed an understanding of fabricating such complexity and dynamic structure through prototypes and structural testing. The research contributes to current knowledge in the design and assembly of complex tensegrity systems and the structural analysis method of dynamic performance. The project's significance is in the cross-disciplinary research across architecture, performance art, and engineering. It demonstrates the feasibility of constructing the structure at scale with performance quality in a public setting. In addition, the installation formed the basis of three independent pieces of creative performance art at the Gallery.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne
Size8m x 8m x 8m
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2022
EventSWARM - Science Gallery Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 13 Aug 20223 Dec 2022


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  • Suspended tensegrity: the anthropomorphic machine

    Loh, P. L. L., Leggett, D., Bohnenberger, S. & Tam, M., 10 Jul 2023, Integration of Design and Fabrication: Proceedings of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures Annual Symposium 2023. Xie, Y. M., Burry, J., Lee, T-U. & Ma, J. (eds.). Melbourne : IASS, p. 2113-2123 10 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionResearchpeer-review

    Open Access

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