The Artwork will be constructed from steel with perforated steel sheet scales.
Beneath the scales a network of RGB LED lights will be installed to illuminate it from within. The perforated sheet will be allowed to go rusty and add texture to the Weta’s outer layer during the day. By night it will provide for a unique visual effect when the LED lights are illuminated. The eyes will be glass which will receive illumination from inside the Weta’s head.
The legs will follow a similar format but on a smaller scale. They will be able to be raised and lowered using a hand driven linear actuator. The actuator will have lock, preventing the legs from dropping once the cranks are no longer being turned or supported by a participant.
The Weta will be a 50:1 scale model of a real life giant weta standing 1.6m (5’3”) tall and 5m (16’4”) long, not including the legs and antenna.
Flame effects (propane) will shoot from the antennae and will be in operation at nighttime.
The image of the Weta itself is quite stark – a giant grasshopper-like creature with large mandibles. Just the sight of it in the distance will intrigue people to come and see what it is, reminiscent of an old horror movie involving giant insects, prompting the curious to investigate.
Upon arrival at the Weta, it will become apparent to participants that they can interact with the giant creature and make it move by operating the cranks in its thorax. The hand-driven cranks will be placed externally at various points on the body of the sculpture, driving the internal gearing making parts of the Weta move and shift. When provoked, weta raise their back legs in the air in a display of hostility. The cranks will move its legs, head and mandibles and also reveal the hatch to the cave in its abdomen.
Inside the abdomen of the Weta is a replica of the environment that weta inhabit. Creatures of the forest, where they dwell in caves nestled amongst the roofs of trees, the space will transform into a cave complete with artificial glow worms, moss and stalactites – an intimate space for multiple participants to hang out in, providing an insight into where weta come from.
At night, flame effects from the antennae will captivate the attention of participants, and under the supervision of one or more of the artist team, participants may operate the flame effects themselves.