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Steampunk “Humachines” at Google
Bruce Rosenbaum curates an art exhibit at the tech company’s offices in Cambridge, Mass.
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Employees at Google’s offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts will get daily glimpses of steampunk creativity thanks to an art exhibit based on the Humachines sculptures of Bruce Rosenbaum. The sculptures portray 19th century authors and inventors in the form of machines that they conceived, such as H.G. Wells as an anthropomorphic Time Machine and George Eastman as the “Future Camera.” Humachines were the centerpieces of Rosenbaum’s Discover Steampunk exhibition, which ran May 11, 2018 through January 6, 2019 at the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls.
As part of Discover Steampunk, artist Brett Kelley created a series of illustrations depicting Rosenbaum’s sculptures as comic book superheroes. Those illustrations are the basis of the Google exhibit, but instead of using them as-is, Rosenbaum wanted larger prints with modified backgrounds featuring simpler imagery and more-intense colors.
The originals were scanned, digitally modified, and printed on acid-free archival art paper. The process is known as Giclée, which refers to the use of high-quality inkjet printers to reproduce fine art. They’re mounted in 33-inch metal frames designed by Julian Halpern of Steelhead Studios in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Rosenbaum was assisted in the project by Mary Blaxland, a graphic designer in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Lisa Spencer, production manager at Giclée Printing & Framing of New England.
The exhibit opened on Nov. 20 and will remain at Google for at least six months, Rosenbaum says. It is not open to the public — the exhibit is “just for Google employees, visitors and guests,” he says. Framed prints can be purchased for $2,450.
Meanwhile, he hopes to bring Discover Steampunk to other museums. He conceived the project in collaboration with Imagine Exhibitions. For more information, see his website and our earlier story, “A Visit with the Steampunk Guru.”