This gorgeous experimental film by director Joey Bania explores the unique and dazzlingly creative world of Blair Somerville, resident inventor, tinkerer and self-described “organic mechanic” of Popotowai, New Zealand. The film, which mixes elements of documentary film making with time-lapse motifs and stop-motion animation, focuses equally on the fruits of his endeavours (the hand-cranked tin can Kraken is especially impressive), his workflow and his unorthodox design philosophy.
Somerville’s brain and homestead alike are seemingly bursting at the seams with countless quirky gadgets, which he refers to as “rustic automata”. In an era where consumer electronics are relentlessly refined to the barest, most minimal style possible in the effort to win branding wars, it’s refreshing to see such unique and inspired designs created simply because one man imagined them.
If you find yourself in New Zealand’s South Island, be sure to stop by Somerville’s Lost Gypsy Gallery and take a tour.