Ball Machines

West Edmonton Mall was home to a very unique attraction: a pair of Audiokinetic Sculptures, known to most as Ball Machines or Rube Goldberg Machines.

The first, and larger sculpture, was entitled Ball City. The second was not titled.

A conveyor-belt style lift would carry a collection of balls to the top of the art piece. The balls would then travel down a series of paths. each path would take the ball through a unique set of obstacles and interactions. Drums, percussion instruments, pendulums, and much more, would all activate in different ways. They would sound off and swing in unison as the art would run its course. As each ball approached the end of its path, it would re-enter a queue to be brought to the top of the sculpture and run the course again.

The untitled piece was situated outside of the Fantasyland west mall entrance. Sometime during the 1990’s, the piece was removed. It has found a new home, still in Edmonton, at the Telus World of Science (previously known under the titles of “The Edmonton Space and Science Center”, and “The Odysseum”)

The sculptures were created by famed artist George Rhoads. Rhoads is well known for his development of such machines, and his pieces can be found on display around the world in art galleries, museums, malls, and even airports.


Leave a Reply