Mark Malmberg – Hsiao Hua

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Mark Malmberg, Hsiao Hua 2007. Carbon fiber reinforced bamboo, electronics with Bluetooth. On view at Blackfish Gallery until May 31, 2014

Mark Malmberg’s solar powered robotic mobile Hsiao Hua is a beguiling interweaving of the organic and the high tech. Solar panels, a computer, a motor, and a propeller are carefully lashed and epoxied to a bamboo frame, creating a beautiful creaturely sculpture. With sufficient light Hsiao Hua comes to life, emitting a series of chirps and whistles, wheeling and gliding. In the gallery this is surprising – a bit like walking into someone’s apartment only to be greeted by the squawks of a parrot. Hsiao Hua is an unusual and out of place life form and it makes me think about the relationships between animals and machines, nature and city, high tech and low. It’s also playful and clearly made with great craft and care.

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