El Pulpo Mecanico is a 25-foot-tall piece of art built in Humboldt County, California, created by artist Duane Flatmo.
Flatmo got the inspiration for El Pulpo Mecanico about five years ago while visiting Mexico. During his travels, he saw a small metal octopus ornament.
“I brought it home and I decided I wanted to build a 25 foot one,” said Flatmo, who owns a house in Mexico but is originally from Northern California.
Starting at a young age Flatmo was always building whatever he could get his hands on.
“At five years old I was constantly building stuff,” he said in an interview.
“I build contraptions all the time,” he added.
Kanala Patel, a researcher at the U of C, volunteered her time to be project lead for Beakerhead this year.
“We came to Calgary specifically because of Beakerhead,” Patel said.
All the pieces for El Pulpo Mecanico were brought up to Calgary in 20 boxes on a flatbed truck and were assembled by Flatmo.
“What I like is that this epitomizes Beakerhead because it is a smash up of art, science and engineering,” said Patel. “These guys have brought it all together.”
The art piece uses 200 gallons of propane to power the mechanisms inside of it.
A giant cam spins up through the centre, which moves the tentacles and eyes. Fire also spews out the ends of the tentacles and the top of its head.
El Pulpo Mecanico has been to three Burning Man festivals, as well as Las Vegas, San Francisco and a couple other tours.
The art piece is not computerized at all. It is completely mechanical and is controlled by Flatmo himself.
Alex Johnson, a father of two, came to Beakerhead with his children and wife.
“We came for the whole family, the environment and the community love,” said Johnson.
I brought it home and I decided I wanted to build a 25 foot one. – Duane Flatmo
“It’s pretty funky,” he said.
For more information on El Pulpo Mecanico and the creator Duane Flatmo, check out the Facebook page: The Church of El Pulpo Mecanico.