Giant kinetic sculptures, including one dubbed Mondo Spider, are attracting attention for a Vancouver non-profit group that’s committed to raising eyebrows as well as awareness about sustainable energy.

EatART describes itself as an art lab.

Time is divided between researching how energy is consumed and generated and building artistic pieces that are showcased at community events and festivals. While most of the members have day jobs as engineers, they also identify as artists.

“We build sculptures in such a way to make people rethink the way they consume and generate energy,” said Leigh Christie, co-founder of eatART.

The charity traces its roots to 2005 and the Junkyard Wars, an annual competition where inventors create machines out of junk. A team made up of engineers, including Christie, put together a wooden spider. This first incarnation fell apart shortly after being built, but the creators felt there was more they could do with it. It took a year of redesign, but eventually Mondo Spider, a mobile 725-kilogram creation, was born.

The group, which consisted of Jonathan Tippett, Charlie Brinson and Christie, started applying for grants so they could take it to outdoor festivals like Burning Man in the Nevada desert. They noticed an immediate buzz surrounding their machine and saw the potential to grow as a group.

“We wanted to build more artwork, bigger and better things,” said Christie.

The group has built and purchased a handful of similar projects, including Daisy, the solar powered tricycle designed by American inventor Bob Schneeveis, and ContainR, a solar-powered cinema.

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