Dr. Crispin Hales was a principal engineer investigating the Ford power plant explosion. The explosion occurred on Monday, February 1, 1999, destroying the aging power plant at Ford Motor Company's famous Rouge facility in Dearborn, Michigan. Six employees were killed and fourteen seriously injured. The explosion and consequential fire was one of the most expensive industrial accidents in U.S. history resulting in $US 1 billion in property damage. It was also the largest human-caused insurance loss of the year.
The kinetic sculpture “Big Blade” is the work of New Zealand artist Len Lye 1901-1980. Lye’s original sculpture “Small Blade” was built in the 1960’s and had a 1.8m “blade” made from high carbon steel of the type commonly used to make bandsaws. The carbon steel blade vibrates at resonant frequencies, something engineers are normally very careful to avoid due to the resulting large deflections and high internal stresses. Resonant frequencies are a feature in some of Len Lye’s artworks which are often unpredictable in their sound and movement. Big Blade was commissioned by John and Lynda Matthews, New Plymouth, New Zealand. The mechanism was designed by Dr Shayne Gooch according to the original artist's brief and built at the University of Canterbury. Big Blade has a titanium alloy “blade” measuring 3.4m tall. Big Blade is one of the principal installations at Art Fair 2021 24-28 February 2021 at The Cloud, Queen's Wharf, Auckland waterfront.