Beam Camp, a New Hampshire summer camp that commissions elaborate collaborations between campers and artists, designers and engineers successfully built a collection of giant flipbooks and a functioning, tree-shaped pipe organ this past summer.
The flipbook project – known as the Universal Play Machine – was a collaboration with the UK-based Mobile Studio Architects. The project masters were Chee-Kit Lai and Will Atkins.
The universal play machine is a bespoke and adaptable kinetic sculpture that is also a device for learning – not only in the process of its creation but also in how it can be interacted with when complete. Essentially an oversized flip-book, the system scales up the split-flap display technology first used in airports and train-stations across the world. Exaggerating the analogue nature of the technology, the universal play machine has the capacity to rotate through a sequence of images, sketches, numbers or letters – all created by the campers and even powered by the campers themselves!
The pipe organ project – known as Pipe Tree – was a collaboration with Florian Gwinner.
The Pipe Tree is a fully functioning, human-operated, pipe organ that takes its place among pine and maple trees in the Beam Camp forest overlooking Little Willey Pond.