Hernán Lira began making toys and puppets at the age of 16. As artistic influences, he counts his own children and the students he worked with as an elementary-school teacher, in addition to artists and craftspeople he has met while traveling the world. To spread toymaking and puppet-making skills in his home country of Argentina, he has developed a collection of play centers and workshops.
Explore small, surreal worlds at Curious Contraptions, a temporary exhibition of the charming, often hilarious mechanical sculptures known as automata. Like complex mechanical toys, these whimsical machines are brought to life by intricate arrangements of handmade cams, cranks, and other simple mechanisms. Each sculpture performs an absurd miniature drama reflecting its maker's worldview and sense of humor. Take a look at their exposed inner workings and investigate the low-tech mechanisms that make these automata move.
This year, Curious Contraptions features the varied viewpoints of artists including Carlos Zapata, Paul Spooner, Keith Newstead, and Fi Henshall, plus artist residencies with Zapata, Hernán Lira, and Noga Elhassid. https://www.exploratorium.edu/curious-contraptions