Machine + metaphor


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Machine + metaphor

  1. 1. Marcel Duchamp
  2. 2. Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin
  3. 3. Tinguely: Homage to New York
  4. 4. Signature was Hawkinson’s first work to reflect artificial intelligence. It functions as a machine that endlessly and mechanically produces a facsimile of the artist’s signature, yielding a pile of papers on the floor with his scrawled insignia. Not only is this a laudable mechanical achievement, because Hawkinson created a self-functioning machine, but it is also provocative in its theoretical inferences. What does a signature imply? In the pile of papers beneath the mechanical hand, these signatures are nothing more than ink scribbles on scratch pieces of paper. But, at the core of a signature, is an intimate human identity. A person’s signature represents significant emotional, intellectual, monetary value; it reflects an individual’s existence. Mechanically produced signatures are devoid of human presence, and therefore, the signature has no inherent value. The machine-generated scribble is endless, pointless, vain, lifeless; but ironically, the machine’s signature will outlast the lifetime of the human signature, which dies upon the individual’s death.
  5. 5. Tim Hawkinson, Emoter, 2002, Altered ink-jet print on plastic and foam core on panel, monitor, stepladder, and mechanical components
  6. 6. Chris Burden and Samson I found this art piece absurd, subtly narcissistic and fantastically subversive. In 1985, performance artist Chris Burden set up “a museum installation consisting of a 100-ton jack connected to a gear box and a turnstile. The 100- ton jack pushes two large timbers against the bearing walls of the museum. Each visitor to the museum must pass through the turnstile in order to see the exhibition. Each input on the turnstile ever so slightly expands the jack, and ultimately if enough people visit the exhibition, SAMSON could theoretically destroy the building.”
  7. 7. • A bastard stepson of Fischli & Weiss, Kersels produces objects that drag, collapse, boom, clank, and steam, but unlike the Swiss duo, Kersels presence never leaves the objects he sets in motion. One of the first works for Kersels that extends his body and its performance to objects (in this case, making objects an explicit stand-in for his body) comes in the form of MacArthur Park, 1996, an object that is a stand-in for the artist’s body which is landscaped out with green and yellow wooden balls. The object is a stack starting with a wooden table, then a speaker, then the assembly of body like green and yellow wooden balls and on top of that an amplifier and CD player. A mechanism under the table pulls the balls for the head, arms, and legs down and part to the rhythm of the song, before releasing them to snap back together. They do this through a song cycle that includes Kersels singing Karaoke-style, MacArthur Park, I Will Survive, and the Carpenters creepily cheerful, On Top of the World, a cycle of pop falling apart and coming back together. This work captures the crux of Kersels’ aesthetic, as he himself states in an interview with Ian Berry in the catalogue for his recent retrospective, “my better works have that wink- wink humor mixed with a tragic element.”
  8. 8. Then there was Twist (1993) — still one of my favorite Kersels kinetic sculptures — a prosthetic leg with Michael Jackson footwear that, via the continuously winding and unwinding rope of intertwined rubber bands by which it was suspended, was periodically sent into spasms of ecstatic spinning.
  9. 9. Allan Wexler
  10. 10. es.html
  11. 11. kes_moving_sculpture.html
  12. 12. • In the 1980s and 1990s huge installations were created out of and dedicated to places charged with political and historical importance. With her kinetic sculptures, the artist releases and rediverts the weight of the past on these physical spaces: as for example in Concert in Reverse (1997) in Münster, where an old municipal tower turns out to be an execution site for the Third Reich: or in Vienna, with the Tower of the Nameless (1994), where she sets a monument to the refugees from Balkan states in the form of a tower with mechanically playing violins. In Weimar, the Concert for Buchenwald was composed on the premises of a former tram depot.
  13. 13. • Ballet of the Woodpeckers 1986 Ballet der Spechte Mixed media installation This work was originally constructed for the entrance hall of a theatre, situated within a psychiatric clinic in Vienna. It was the first time in the clinic's history that patients and visitors could meet, touching each other through their mirrored images. Small hammers peck against the mirrors in constantly changing rhythms. They are like birds discovering their own image as they fly towards their reflections. One of the woodpecker machines cuts into a bundle of charcoal. The dust falls to the ground, with a mound settling on an egg suspended just above the floor. In order to recall the presence of the patients left in the clinic after the installation was dismantled, Horn later added two glass funnels filled with trembling mercury.
  14. 14. Rebecca Horn
  15. 15. Her recent work, exemplified by a three- dimensional piece called Some Night Action (1993), in which marbles become random clusters of constellations according to the laws of physics and chance, deals with “creation and preserva-tion,” as the artist explains it. Increasingly Alice Aycock weds architecture and technology, the past and the present. Her art, asserts Dorothy Valakos, focuses on the “endless process of reconfiguration” and “the very magic and strange beauty of these [incomprehensible] constructs that allows us to glimpse our true nature.”
  16. 16. Alice Aycock
  17. 17. ROXY PAINE PMU (Painting Manufacture Unit), 1999-2000 Aluminum, stainless steel, computer, electronics, relays, custom software, acrylic, servo motors, valves, pump, precision track, glass, rubber 110 X 157 X 176 inches
  18. 18. They were exhibited at the 1985 Venice Architecture Biennale as "Three Lessons of Architecture." There's The Reading Machine, The Memory Machine, and The Writing Machine, all intended as metaphors concerning the then-hotly debated post-structuralist theory of architecture-as-text.
  19. 19. The Memory Machine is Libeskind's interpretation of Giulio Camillo's "Memory Theatre," a 16th-century structure where, upon entering, a person's mind would be filled and inscribed with a knowledge of the universe.
  20. 20. Céleste Boursier-Mougenot
  21. 21. • bles.html • ation.html
  22. 22.