learning the ropes

things I made at ITP and after: sketches, prototypes, and other documentation

Thursday, May 28, 2009

visual reflection: machine performances

I’ve been thinking about machines: machines that perform and people who perform with machines.  These are some visual references that I’ve found interesting in considering this subject matter.

posted by Michael at 11:54 am  


  1. general responses

    wow that was really entertaining.
    I’ll start off with my general conclusions, and then my specific responses that led me there.

    To over simplify, I see overcomplicated, and larger than life machinery with surprising physical interactivity. Also a focus on the exposure of the mechanical nature of the piece. (which is in high contrast to our everyday interaction with machines such as cars, microwaves and computers where everything is hidden away and made “simple”)

    Perhaps the mechanisms of the measurements of the rope motion needs to be illustrated to the audience. Certainly the motions of the counterweights represents that. Perhaps a graduated scale behind the counterweights would illustrate this further, etc…

    Also just a general heightening of the physical actions of the rope via flags, or extra block and tackle, or additional ropes.

    Perhaps a mixture of more sound elements, I think you mentioned putting a microphone on the surface or the drawing utensil. But also perhaps mic the wheels, (and design them to make sound) or have the counterweights hit bells or other sound producing items.

    Comment by Hal Eagar — May 29, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  2. specific responses

    OK so I never watch videos, so the “declare independence” video is new to me, pretty fun, but somehow the overall visual narrative seems to be at direct opposition to the call to arms of the lyrics.

    But I can certainly see how this is something to mine for dramatic ideas in regards to rope sound and drawing though.

    overcomplicated, and larger than life machinery (the raising the ‘flag’ / canvas. (which is one of the most interesting moments and the event most connected to the lyrical content.

    It’s also all pre-conceived and orchestrated music and imagery, which is quite different than what you are attempting.

    For me the beauty or the chair boils down to a mix of the over complexity, the precision.

    the artichoke driving the wheel, core is overcomplexity to turn a wheel, along with the surprising inclusion of organic materials.
    machine with oil, no comment
    housefly, overcomplicated simulation of nature.
    sultans elephant, over size, over complicated, highly visible mechanisms.
    blue man / evolution, well no comment but many of the same core intrigues. Just to much going on all in all for me to parse.
    The milling, my first response is that it is all about the precision and power, fun but I don’t know how to extract anything specifically dramatic from it myself.
    Then I eventually realized that the inherent sounds that it produces are also pretty intriguing. Hmm, physical action with unintentional tonality as a result. Defiantly worth mining.

    Comment by Hal Eagar — May 29, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

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