Saturday Programming, March 19, 11am - 5pm

TitleDescriptionTimeLocationGeneral Admission
Opening CeremoniesIncludes premier showing of the historic film, "Le Monde des Automates" 
11 amBickford TheatreDepending on available space
Restoration of the Maillardet Automaton
Andrew Baron presents an engaging slideshow that traces the unconventional path from mechanical paper-engineering and his role as a consultant for Brian Selznick’s New York Times Best Seller,The Invention of Hugo Cabret, to an invitation by The Franklin Institute to repair the legendary Maillardet automaton. The Maillardet automaton was a key inspiration for Brian's book, which in turn provided the foundation for Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning film Hugo. Mr. Baron’s presentation features rare one-of-a-kind photos and rich video clips of the Maillardet automaton’s mechanism in action, solves some of the automaton’s mechanical mysteries and reveals others that after more than two centuries lost, are only now coming to light.
NoonBickford TheatreYes
Intro to Making Automatons
A beginners guide to creating automata, from design to implementation. Tools, mechanics, and tips and techniques will be shared by automata artists, with Aaron Kramer, Sam Cobb, and Dave Johnson
NoonBickford GalleryYes
Craft Your Own AutomatonStop by our crafting table and learn to assemble your own automaton using common household supplies, with artist J.E. Johnson and museum staff
Noon - 4 pmMammals and Minerals GalleriesYes
From Maillardet to Hugo
Trace the path of inspiration from the Maillardet Automaton to Brian Selznick's book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, to the Martin Scorcese film, from some of the people involved.1 pmBickford TheatreYes
Clockwork Automata of the Gilded Age
A brief overview of the history of automata, leading to their height of popularity and availability during The Gilded Age of society. The industrial revolution had taken root, economic prosperity was reaching new heights, technological advances were around every corner, and time was not to stand still in developing countries. People who could afford it were traveling around the world, thirsty for what the world had to offer in the way of exotic, social and personal experiences. To be able to purchase a unique, decorative art that was a souvenir of their experience and bring it home, allowed them  to relive, by vivid account, those times and experiences. Automata are living, historical documents, - each a “performance piece,” - never meant to remain idle. With Jere Ryder.
1 pmBickford GalleryYes
Modern Artists Q&A
Join some of the premier modern automata artists for a roundtable discussion, with Steve Armstrong, Tom Haney, Thomas Kuntz, Dug North, and Cecilia Schiller.
2 pmBickford TheatreNo
Theroude’s Flute Player
This emblematic automaton, produced in a manufacturing context in the second half of the 19th century, was disputed between two world-famous workshops. In fact three creators have been able to claim the paternity of this musician. We’ll also see what essential elements were brought by the organ-maker Pierre-Ernest KELSEN. So, after presenting the protagonists of our study and the project genesis, we’ll try to unravel the story and render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. With Philippe Crasse.
2 pmBickford GalleryNo
History of Magic and Automata
The worlds of automata and illusion have forever been linked. Listen to some of the foremost authorities on magic and automata talk about the fascinating history of creating the illusion of life. With John Gaughan, Pierre Mayer, and Brad Henderson.
3 pmBickford TheatreNo
Le Monde des Automates
See the extremely rare 1928 film, “Le Monde des Automates [the World of Automata],” courtesy of Jere and Steve Ryder of AutaMusique, Ltd. This silent film was meant to accompany Alfred Chapuis’ & Eduard Gélis’ foundational 2 volume book by same name, and which has been effectively ‘lost’ from public view for 70+ years.
3 pmBickford GalleryYes
Curious Worlds: the Art and Imagination of David Beck
Curious Worlds: The Art & Imagination of David Beck: An intimate portrait of the most accomplished American artist you've never heard of, working in a genre all his own.
4 pmBickford TheatreYes
Restoring Antique Automata
 Learn from professional restorers about the interesting projects they've worked on, and the tools and techniques they use to breathe life back into antique automata. With Michael and Maria Start, Brittany Cox, and Moe Goldy
4 pmBickford Gallery


Friday Night Reception, March 18, 6-9 PM (SOLD OUT)

Join us for a private reception at the Morris Museum consisting of light refreshments and hors d'oeuvres, with tours of the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata.

The following information is from 2016. Check back for a call for panelists and more information on programming.

Click for Printable / Mobile-Friendly Schedule for AutomataCon 2016

​Featured Events

Exhibitor and Vendor Tables: 11 AM - 5 PM on Saturday, 11 AM - 2 PM on Sunday (general admission)

Saturday Evening Social - Saturday, March 19, 7:30 PM - 

After the convention on Saturday, join us for an unofficial gathering at the Blue Morel bar in the Westin hotel! - Directions

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Film: Curious Worlds: The Art and Imagination of David Beck

Saturday, March 19, 4 PM. Bickford Theatre

Curious Worlds: The Art and Imagination of David Beck pulls back the curtain on the singular artist David Beck: a master sculptor, carver, and miniature architect who works in a fantastical genre all his own. Beck lived in New York City on the edge of destitution, but eventually found gallery representation and established a following of enthusiasts.  His pieces have been shown at the MET and the Guggenheim, but to the larger public he is virtually unknown.  Curious Worlds provides insight into what it takes to create a masterwork: extraordinary ideas, an almost eerie ability to focus on the work, and patience.

Premier showing of historic film, "Le Monde des Automates" 

Saturday, March 19, Event Ticket Only Showing at 11 am, General Admission second showing at 3 pm

We are pleased to announce that AutomataCon will host the premier showing of the extremely rare 1928 film, “Le Monde des Automates [the World of Automata],” courtesy of Jere and Steve Ryder of AutaMusique, Ltd. This silent film was meant to accompany Alfred Chapuis’ & Eduard Gélis’ foundational 2 volume book by same name, and which has been effectively ‘lost’ from public view for 70+ years. Originally created as a typical period silent film using hand-driven cameras, an accompanying sound track was added shortly thereafter, making this one of the first Swiss-made sound films. About 25-30 minutes in length, it documents some extremely rare and unique automata and mechanical music, at a very early time. A fabulous historical document.

Sunday Programming, March 20, 11am - 2pm

LocationGeneral Admission
Clockworks: Horology Tools and TechniquesIn this 2-hour panel, learn the tools and techniques used by clockmakers and automata makers alike to make things move, with live demonstrations. With Brittany Cox, Thomas Kuntz, Dug North, and David Lindow.11 am - 1 pmBickford GalleryYes, though this is a deep technical discussion
Paper Automata
An exploration of the artists and history of moving paper cards, toys, and sculpture, with Larry Siedman and Falk Keuten.
11 amDodge RoomYes
Craft Your Own AutomatonStop by our crafting table and learn to assemble your own automaton using common household supplies, with artist J.E. Johnson and museum staff
11 am - 2 pmMammals or Minerals GalleryYes
Collecting Automata, Old and New
Collectors Richard Garriott de Cayeux, Joe Orens, and Florie  Hirsch talk about their experiences as collectors and share tips.NoonDodge RoomYes
Modern Tools of Making - 3D Printers and Laser Cutters
Learn about 3D Printing, CNC, Laser Cutters, and Software, the  tools of the modern maker, with Wade Warman and Brett King.
1 pmBickford Gallery
The Great American Historical (Automaton) Clock
The story and a discussion of plans for the repair and display of a fascinating, large, musical automaton clock that during its lifetime had been displayed at The World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and also toured around the world with a traveling minstrel troupe.  The weight-driven clock is roughly 13’ tall by 9’ wide and features historical scenes with animated dioramas that are activated at various times during the hour. The clock will be unveiled as part of an exhibition titled ‘Democracy’ in the spring of 2017. With Beth Richwine, Senior Objects Conservator, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
1 pmDodge RoomYes
"Unconference" ProgrammingHave a discussion topic that you didn’t see in the program that you want to present? Propose it on our sign up board! Vote for your favorite proposals, and the winner will host an “unconference” panel on Sunday.
11 amHedley GalleryYes
Mechanical BirdsA playing of the DVD, “The Anatomy of a Singing Bird Box” by John Moorhouse. An insight into a fine quality, 19th Century singing bird box made by Jacques Bruguier. Followed by a discussion with Jörg Wendel of Siegfried´s Mechanical Music Museum.
NoonHedley GalleryYes
Maillardet Automaton Q&AContinue the discussion from Saturday about the famous Maillardet Automaton, including newly discovered secrets of its inner workings. With Andrew Baron.1 pmHedley GalleryYes