Making simple things complicated

Perhaps you saw this terrific story in the New York Times yesterday about a Manhattan artist who specializes in kinetic art. What he especially enjoys is building modern-day Rube Goldberg devices.

The Times took the time to describe one of his projects — a machine that, when you take a sip of coffee, turns the newspaper page, though not nearly that simply — through a nifty multimedia package. There’s also a nice video that shows the device in action.

It’s all terrific and I highly recommend reading, interacting with and watching the stories.

But, it’s not my favorite example of a Rube Goldberg device. That distinction belongs to a Honda commercial from Britain:

It’s a classic example, in my opinion, of elegance. It’s not simple — indeed, it’s quite complex — but it’s stripped down to the bare essentials in order to let the magic shine unimpeded.

My three favorite parts of the video are the tires rolling uphill (weights inside allow that to happen), the radiator fan on wheels that just *barely* makes it to the next stage, and the walking windshield wipers.

If you’re interested in seeing how the commercial was made, you can view that here:

It’s stunning (to me, anyway), how long it took to produce this commercial. Sadly, there is one edit in the final cut, but don’t let that take away from the magic of the finished ad.

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