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Exploring Archer's Arcadia
If there's any free exhibition in Adelaide that's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, it's Archer's Arcadia currently being held at the National Railway Museum.
Fashioned on the penny arcades that were popular at the sea front and in showgrounds in Victorian and Edwardian times, Archer's Arcadia will delight kids and adults alike with its colourful and crazy re-imaginings of the games that transfixed your great grandparents when they were children.
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Peep into a hole and be transported to an unimaginably different place, and be surprised and even pleasantly shocked by what you see in this alternate miniature universe.
Drop a coin into the slot of a fortune telling machine which is a parody of those from a hundred years ago, then find out whether romance is really for you. Are you really compatible, or is it just lust?
See Pearls Before Swine - a marvellous mechanical water powered pig that devours pearls and churns out sausages in return!
Artist David Archer has been producing his quirky creations for years and exhibiting them country wide. He allowed me into his workshop which is vaguely reminiscent of a mad professor's laboratory, crammed with his wonderful inventions and the tools he uses to bring them to life from a spark in his imagination.
David's creations are mostly made from unwanted upcycled materials - salvaged from bins and hard waste, then re-purposed into things that delight and amuse you. In one corner of his workshop is a full size recreation of an elephant, which he plans to animate in a semblance of walking. But creating the gadgets is very time consuming - the elephant may not see daylight for some time to come.
He watched me closely as I played with one of his toys, and explained that there are usually three phases of interaction: curiosity, then apprehension, followed by excitement and joy. His machines encourage interaction with their audience, so kids are delighted to play with these creations - they can peer into holes, wind cranks, pull handles, and even see how some of the displays work.
I predict that the free Archer's Arcadia Exhibition at the National Railway Museum will be hugely popular. It's being held in the Institute building in Adelaide from September 1 to October 16 2014, and will be a highly sought after kids activity during the school holidays. Don't miss it!
Please note: At time of writing the final exhibits had not been confirmed. Those pictured are for illustration only.
We went there today and it was really strange how weird and a little bit creepy everything was back then in regards to the carnival scene :) We put our dollar in for the "Crackles" pig and he disappointed us, maybe he wasn't plugged in properly. Our 4 year old found his fortune "You will be lucky in love" so that's good for him at daycare haha. He also loved the Proper Workers spectacle and thought that people going through a machine and turning into robots was serious business.
I would say it's worth a look, quite an enjoyable little time.....thanks for the write up Dave, you have helped us explore Adelaide even more :)
Hey, we took the kids just after Christmas and we had the place to ourselves. It was very spooky but fun. Unfortunately you have to put $1 in some of the exhibits and we had no change and although we stayed for 30 minutes there was noon the desk, so we could not get any change. Worth a look if you are in town. Its in abuilding on corner of North terrace and Kintore Ave but there was not obvious sign and I'd never heard of the Institute building.