Nestled in the scenic mountains of Taos, New Mexico, VLZ (Very Large Zoetrope) is the latest artwork in a series of zoetropes by Gavin Shapiro. An homage to New Mexico’s VLA (Very Large Array), this megastructure is 777 feet in diameter, making it the largest zoetrope in the world by far, completely dwarfing the previous record-holder: the adorable 33-foot Sony BRAVIA-Drome constructed in 2008.
30 awe-inspiring metal penguins soar over 60 feet into the air, completing exactly one revolution per minute once the zoetrope reaches its top speed for one hour each day at both dusk and dawn. When viewed through time-lapse photography at 60 times actual speed, the massive penguins spring to life, waddling forever in an endless loop.
A quixotic structure that serves as a testament to the artistic ego, VLZ strives to evoke feelings of wonder while simultaneously alluding to the hopelessness of trying to stand out in the oversaturated attention economy of modern society. Desperate to be remembered after we’re gone, is there anything else we can do, other than “more”? When asked what his next zoetrope would be like, Shapiro responded, “bigger, I guess.”