In 1976, contemporary artist Ward Fleming came up with a clever idea. He set hundreds of round-ended metal pins on a boxed grid so that the pins could only move on one axis. Pressing his box against any surface moved each pin independently against the surface’s volume features, effectively creating a 3D model of any object. Pin screens became an instant hit, joining Newton’s Cradles, Drinking Birds, and Magic 8-Balls in the pantheon of useless 1990s toys.
Now, a group of Spanish artists is reviving the concept in their own reimagination of the 40-year-old installation–with a fiery twist.
The art studios Nituniyo and Memosesmas came up with the idea after reflecting on the nature of Las Fallas, a festival that honors Saint Joseph every March in Valencia, Spain. During the year leading up to this week of parties, artists from all over Valencia create gigantic sculptural installations using wood and cardboard. These huge pieces, which can tower three stories over partiers, often lambast politicians and celebrities. They get displayed in streets and plazas all over the city until the final day when, amid a hurricane of fireworks, the fallas are set aflame, one by one, while the firefighters watch, ready to act in case the buildings in the city’s close quarters catch fire.
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