A small goldfish isn't an animal that you would ordinarily associate with destruction of furniture, but you haven't met Smashie. Smashie is just the type of goldfish you can associate with such and act, because as he swims around his bowl, he smashes stuff with a hammer. Not just any old stuff, but dollhouse furniture.
The piece, called Fish Hammer, is by artist Neil Mendoza, who says, "Humans have been destroying fish habitats for many years through activities from trawling the ocean floor to filling it with plastic. With the advent of the fish hammer, fish can now wreak destruction on mini human habitats."
The piece works by tracking Smashie with a webcam so that a hammer can follow him around on a custom built curved metal carriage designed in Autodesk Fusion 360 and Autodesk Inventor. This, in turn, is powered by a software-controlled step motor. When Smashie dives, the hammer drops downwards, its swing regulated by a slow, rotating cam.
Mendoza says the piece was inspired by kinetic artists such as Jean Tinguely, along with Monty Python, Surrealism, and absurdism. Its absurdist, Pythonesque sensibilities combined with robotics and engineering are traits found in many of Mendoza's pieces, which have included a knife orchestra that plays "Stayin' Alive," a rock band made from actual rocks, and his Robotic Voice Activated Word Kicking Machine.
"We are surrounded by technology but it's so ubiquitous and homogeneous that its presence and form becomes normalized and we don't consider its full potential," notes Mendoza to Creators. "By combining it with objects in surreal and absurd ways, both of the technology and the objects become decontextualized; hopefully sparking people's imaginations and inspiring them to think about futures outside of the obvious."
If you fancy building the setup yourself, which was created as part of Autodesk's artist-in-residence program, there are details on how-to over at Instructables.
Watch Smashie in action below.
You can see more of Neil Mendoza's creations at his website.