18 11/13

Chain of machines

Last Friday, during the opening of the exhibition Frieder Nake and friends: No Message Whatsoever, at the DAM Berlin, I exchanged a few words with Frieder Nake about one piece made by Michael Noll in 1963, Gaussian-Quadratic. This work caught my attention because in its label film and photography appeared as the source of the print. Later, I did a brief search for further information and arrived to the SD-4020 Microfilm Recorder. An impressive machine mainly used for the production of graphics. Such a machine chained magnetic, optical, and chemical processes with computations. A magnetic tape stored a computer program and passed it to digital processors that in turn controlled the movement of a cathode ray tube, thus linking video processing and storage technology with digital calculations. The movement of the cathode ray was then captured on film for later reproduction and documentation. The chemical support of the 19th century was the final link in the chain of machines that made that pieces of Mr. Noll. Such assemblage doesn’t exist any more. Today that expanded chain of processing, transmission, and storage, is no longer visible; it has disappeared under the speed and surface of computation.

Gaussian-Quadratic. Michael Noll.1963.

SD-4020 Microfilm Recorder

10 05/10

Machines fracture flows

Tags: , , | Categories: art, digital media, machine

A machine may be defined as a system of interruptions or breaks.[1, p.36]

Every machine is part of system of machines and all of them integrate a constant current. This current has no starting point nor end, it is just a collection of connections that flows. Thus, a machine is perceived through the fractures it creates in a flow. The fractures frame discreet portions of the flow, therefore machines have inputs and outputs (other flows), and in the middle a particular flow is processed. If there is something to say about a machine is that it fractures a collection of flows. A machinic attitude in media must then make evident the fractures rather than to hide them.

To interrupt click over and move your mouse

  1. Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 1983

05 10/09

The remix is a machine art!

| Categories: art, digital media, machine

Art is dead, long live to the machine art. Vladimir Tatlin.

Basic combination of fotos 

‘Machine’ is one of the principal concepts of the modernity. Machine is accurately described, by Broeckmann, as a productive assemblage of forces towards a non-teleological end [1, p.195]. This concept has determined the fate of all sort of practices aimed at producing, organizing, planning, designing, and/or projecting all sort of objects, spaces, social structures, sonic rhythms, and visual sensations in the western societies along at least the last two centuries. In spite of the heterogeneity of forces that are assembled, this concept is totalizing because first, it covers production, organization, and serialization; and second it encompasses all forms of creative work that are treated in similar manners and usually tends towards homogenisation into an uniform social structure at the the same tic-tac-rhythm.

The machinic is the principle that specifies these assemblages, it differs, for instance, from mechanical, electrical, and digital because it covers all of them as characteristics of different sorts of machines, to determine then that what matters is the kind of work the machine does.

Let’s take as example a combinatory machines such as a blender. In a blender different fruits are mixed to produce juice, thus a mix is a homogeneous surface resulting from the assemblage of dissimilar sources. Clearly, a blender could be described as a mechanical machine but mechanical is not enough when specifying the principle that rules a machine that mixes. Mixing is a type of machinic principle.

Remix is another step up in the spiral of rhythm machines that combine ready-made material into new instances. Today, remix can be found everywhere, it has become the form of production per excellence of our times. Lev Manovich has called attention to the remix in contemporary cinema, visual communication, and architecture in which the results are hybrid forms with an homogeneous and fluid surface, and an unreal aesthetic.

If remixing is considered a machinic process, then is a different type of machine art. These forms of machine art cannot be approached based on the type of machine, usually algorithmic, neither they can be characterised by their particular set of visual forms. Rather we have to make use of the principle of combination in which what is being combined is less important than the process itself: the (re)combination. The contemporary machine art differs from that of Tatlin because is one of conversions and not of subversions.

  1. Broeckmann, Andreas. “Image, Process, Performance, Machine: Aspects of an Aesthetics of The Machinic”. MediaArtHistories. Ed. Oliver Grau. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2007. 193-205