Acclaimed industrial sculptor Dillon MacEwan is a creative powerhouse. A master robotics and mechatronics engineer, he specialises in large-scale installation, kinetic sculpture, pyrotechnics and special effects for the film industry. As part of the legendary Mutoid Waste Company and working with Mad Mad: Furiosa, Arcadia, Walking with Dinosaurs, Sculpture by the Sea, Stalker Theatre Co. and many, many more, his work is the product of creative and construction genius. Sculpting sheet steel into curlicues of beauty, forests arching sky bound from the targeted beams of a welder, creatures born of fury and flames, he creates wonder on a grand scale, fire a sonic dance that lights up the heavens.

His practice spans over 30 years, and the work he produces drives an innate human response, one of awe and wonder, and it’s easy to see why:

THE FIRE GARDEN by Tortuga Studios at EDGE Sydenham 2019
Fire triffids, The Big Day Out

As part of Tortuga StudiosGLITCH: a playground of the apocalypse show for EDGE Sydenham, Dillon MacEwan has created the Crankshaft Carousel. Derived from the intriguing corners of his brilliant mind, and the trash piles of numerous workshops, the carousel was sketched into existence last year:

Holley, a trike-riding monkey is crafted from a motorcycle engine, a Holley V8 twin-carb and a bike. The flying fish is formed from push-bike parts, conveyor chain, VW wheel arches and a tractor grill; and the wasp is woven from motorcycle fuel tanks, car windows and a pickaxe. What they are all forged from, however, is a mind capable of seeing in 3D engineering intricacy, wit and sage audacity.

inSIGHT Lab has had the privilege of cataloguing Dillon’s work on this piece over the last few weeks:

Exquisitely inline with the conceptual curation of GLITCH, a derelict playground haunted by the past, the Crankshaft Carousel captures the mind and ensnares it in a nostalgic web. VW wheel arches are a dusty pastel VW blue; the flying fish’s eye is a known entity, childhood reaching out to make you remember. Holley can be tinkered with, her eyes flapping with the flip of a gasket, and her hands and feet are equal parts enchanting and gnarled. Her bike? Of an era never to be forgotten.

But while each creature holds deep intrigue and connection to yesteryear, they are, by default, out of bounds. Designed to clank and rattle as the Crankshaft winds itself up, groaning beneath its own weight, these not-so-cute critters are mechanised to move, coming to life courtesy of old-school engineering, with a healthy dose of 3-phase power and engine grease. So, in terms of contemporary playground equipment, they are thoroughly out of bounds…

Come and see the Crankshaft Carousel in action at GLITCH: a playground of the apocalypse, part of EDGE Sydenham, Saturday August 20th, Sydenham Green.