Canalology: Helena Wee

Canalology: Helena Wee

I am making an animated film exploring the idea of tea as a liquid travelling medium. In a general sense it explores the intersection of art and science and creation of new forms of knowledge, themes that I often return to. The Markfield Beam Engine is a compound rotary engine which evolved from the early James Watt patented ‘sun and planet’ gear. This image served as a starting point for the film.

The film will feature the schematics of an imaginary future/past machine created by an ancient race of aliens. It is driven by Brownian motion of the sort found in steaming hot cups of tea. Incorporating set theory and mathematics it will model different facets of reality in a probabilistic fashion.

The teapot-shaped object at its centre supplies all the other vessels orbiting it, different varieties of tea being the catalysts for travel and discovery. It is unknown if this machine is still in existence or yet to be made. The machine is continually being destroyed and remade in the imagination of its past, current and future engineers.