Exhibition: 50 NY 93, 1993
2' x 13' x 7'
This steel-strung sculpture features a hand-powered crank (made of NYC manhole covers no less) that will 'fly' a set of copper and steel wings. With a wingspan of forty feet, this elegant sculpture will extend fifty feet out over the East river, supported by an intricate steel and cable structure.
Although Fly is firmly anchored, the crank mechanism allows even a ten year child to 'fly' the machine. The sculpture is an interactive piece where the viewer turns a crank, which causes the copper wings to flap. "I am interested in sculpture that not only engages the imagination but also encourages the viewer to actively participate," Mr. Coffin comments.
The sculpture's form explores the language of the industrial age; evident in the large steel trusses and tightly strung cables, which allude to the forms of great bridges and structures of that era. The hand crank mechanism made of nineteenth century elevator gears also invokes memory of the industrial age. "The modern machine puts people out of touch with what is happening inside of the machine, people are not able to comprehend the work the machine is doing for them," Mr. Coffin explains, "my piece seeks to educate and enlighten the viewer of mechanical advantage and how it can be used to create force."
Hidden among the texts of Fly are deep challenges to contemporary views of the industrial era, yet as Mr. Coffin chuckles, "in some sense it is really just a big toy."