My inspiration for this piece was the Orrery from the Museum’s collection. Its old fashioned and mechanical appearance stood out to me when I first visited the collection, and made me want to find out more about the history of the Orrery and why it’s here in Warrington Museum & Art Gallery.
An Orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system which shows the relative positions and motions of each planet and moon. The Orrery in the collection is now considered factually incorrect, as more accurate information about the Solar system is known. Throughout my project I explored outdated theories and laws. I came across the miasmatic theory of disease which originated in England in the Middle Ages. This was a theory that diseases were passed through polluted air caused by rotting organic matter. This theory was eventually disproved and rejected when germ theory replaced it.
I decided to create a machine or system which people in the past could have used to protect themselves from diseases. After having this idea, I began to research different artists who work with weird and ridiculous inventions that have no purpose. Heath Robinson was one of my main inspirations, he is a WW1 illustrator who created ridiculous inventions which were based on day-to-day tasks.
During the making stage, I was influenced by the steampunk style, which helped me make the machine look authentic, as if it were really used in the past.