Archer's Arcadia – Glenelg, Australia - Atlas Obscura

Archer's Arcadia

Glenelg, Australia

Arcade chock-full of old timey, whimsical, hand-cranked automata and peepshows. 


A contemporary automata artist living in South Australia, David Archer’s work is primarily centered around social commentary approached with humor. Since childhood, he has had a passion for arcade-style machines and automata.

Archer handcrafts all of his works using recycled materials and scrapped machinery. In the tradition of mechanical tableaux found on Edwardian and Victorian seaside piers, Archer works to provide humorous insight into the human condition or an escape into fantasy.

Archer’s background is in ceramic design, but he ventured away from that with his very first solo exhibition in 1993. The show, “Automato,” showcased the artist’s interest in amusement machines and whimsical gadgetry. By tinkering with discarded machines in his unconventional studio, Archer constructed a collection of kinetic sculptures and hand-cranked automata.

Archer’s Arcadia presents many of the artist’s works to an audience for free. He is constantly rotating the collection as new pieces emerge from his piles of junk.

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