ECAL low tech factory   oncle sam single kernel popcorn machine ECAL low tech factory   oncle sam single kernel popcorn machine
nov 05, 2012

ECAL low tech factory oncle sam single kernel popcorn machine

‘oncle sam’ by laurent beirnaert, pierre bouvier, paul tubiana photo © nicolas genta image courtesy of ECAL

university of art and design lausanne/ECAL students laurent beirnaert, pierre bouvier and paul tubiana presented their popcorn making machine ‘oncle sam’ as part of the ‘low-tech factory’ exhibition at designers’ saturday in langenthal, switzerland. the project was an outcome of re-interpreting and experimenting with manufacturing processes, whereby the master and bachelor students tackled the production of the universally accepted cinema food – popcorn.

the transformation focuses on a single raw kernel at a time, where an elaborate contraption orchestrates the ingredients in a charmingly grandiose fashion. a tea-light candle heats a solitary grain in oil, which after some time, explodes into the fluffy result – and of course seasoned with salt for taste. the concept was exhibited over two days during the event in the ruckstuhl building – one of the multiple factories around langenthal temporarily converted into expansive exhibition spaces showcasing various designs and products.

the work celebrates and values the means by which a product is created – slowing down a type of manufacture that is usually en masse to a visual spectacle that can be appreciated, acknowledged and savored.

a video of the machine in use

the work celebrates and values the means by which a product is created photo © nicolas genta image courtesy of ECAL

an elaborate contraption orchestrates the ingredients in a grandiose fashion to reach the final fluffy result photo © nicolas genta image courtesy of ECAL

DESIGNERS’ SATURDAY 2012 design is a statement november 3rd – 4th, 2012

the first designers’ saturday took place in langenthal in 1987. since then there have been 13 of these biennial occasions, to provide support for the swiss design scene whilst giving it a publicity platform and stimulating its further development.

designers’ saturday happens at a place where design is actually created. designers’ saturday is not just a product show held on characterless trade fair premises. instead it is a stage where authentic design skills are put on view at the atmospheric production sites of the companies involved.

the event is an international meeting point for the design world. the presentations of numerous internationally known firms will be accompanied by the cartes blanches of both national and international colleges of art and design.

  • and that is the best kernel of popcorn you will ever have

    yeeeeuup says:
  • love it! – divine mix of absurdity and elegance

    dbkii says:
  • Love it

    Jeff Koopersmith says:
  • I’m so tired of this fashion of self made machine…
    And , as usal , Ecal go straight in the fashion to make some empty products…

    aqw says:
  • i agree…empty empty.

    Hanna says:
  • There is nothing empty about humor.

    Ben says:
  • its just….what is this worth other than a 5 second look and a half smirk? it doesnt contribute anything to anyone. it’s useless, what’s half interesting about it is the mechanics involved, but what do you learn from it? what does the ‘process’ teach us? nothing. how can it be applied to a useful system? it cant. it just makes one kernel of popcorn in an ‘amusing’ way.

    jason says:
  • @jason it\’s more than just a 5 second look or a smirk, or the mechanism even.
    its more about understanding the processes involved in actually creating anything.

    of course the installation makes it more interesting.

    if you think the microwave process is half as interesting,
    or its system applies to more than just quickly cooking food with radiation,
    then you must get quite amused from staring at the dish go round and round.

    alvaro says:
  • In a world that is saturated with fast-paced vacancy, I think it’s nice to take a moment and be amused. since when did lighthearted folly become a point worth attacking? YOu can learn plenty from a way of thinking and approach

    Oscar f. says:
  • I think it would be interesting, if they could make it slightly more automated, with each popped popcorn kernel could start the process again!

    Sandy says:
  • Sure, it could be interesting but “oncle sam” was created for an exhibition and we wanted to include the spectator in the process. A new kernel is start to be cook when he take the pop corn which has explosed.
    This machine seems to be absurd and unnecessary, maybe. We just wanted to entertain, marvel people with very simple things.

    pierre andré says:
  • I would like to know what is contained in the upper part of the “machine”? In the video it looks as though the drop is the catalyst to the “popping” of corn… I really like it and it feels a bit magical! To the commentators that are asking what purpose or reflection this installation is bringing to the world, I believe it can serve as a starting point to reflect upon the mass-production of food that is consumed without even noticing it. I believe it can serve so many purpose: but its poetry is the most important to my eyes. Congratulations to the creators!

    Fanny B. says:
  • Excellant, fantastic, I have been waiting all my life for this application. and I may be the only one.

    chuck zangger says:
  • Beautiful.
    Where are the components available?

    John says:
  • and another one…

    MvN says:

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