sketching device #1

Sketching Device #1 is a moody art machine for which expression is more important than precision. Its bad temper turns simple instructions (back, left, down, right, repeat) into unpredictable swirls and snarls.

Based on research by Dan Reznik at the University of California, and inspired by a remark by Ed Stastny, Sketching Device #1 sends low-frequency vibrations through a sheet of paper to guide objects– such as pens– in any direction, without direct contact. The principle is similar to the way you scoot yourself around in a rolling office chair without touching the floor: jerk back quickly to make the chair move forward, and relax more slowly to get centered again without pulling the chair back. Sketching Device #1 does this about thirty times per second– too fast too see– and the pen in its plastic “boat” appears to float around the page by itself. In this primitive implementation, the process is not very reliable or predictable, and that is what makes the resulting sketches interesting.

Sensitive Research

Sensitive ResearchI’m fascinated by antique scientific instruments. Sometimes that fascination goes too far, and I’m compelled to eviscerate them. Sensitive Research is part of a series of pieces combining natural materials with technological artifacts.

The preserved lemon inside Sensitive Research spins and strobes in response to various environmental factors, including network activity (if available), but, most importantly, the settings of the two front-panel knobs, which are quite pleasant to tweak.

Sensitive Research is now in the collection of Judith Zissman.