Machine Number 2 has finally expired only hours before its exhibition was due to come to an end. In terms of exhibiting something that is intended to break down this can be seen as something of a success. The news of its collapse came in an email from Matt Burrows:
“I am happy to report that Machine no.2 performed admirably, coincidentally only giving up the ghost just last Friday – the penultimate day of the show – when a paperclip (I think?) gave up and the wiper collapsed over sideways.
It generated a pleasing little pile of MDF/cardboard dust as it slowly ground away, and an ongoing collection of greasy fingerprints at the point where it tapped the glass, but otherwise was remarkably resilient.”
In the end it seems that the machine started to grind itself into its most basic of materials, dust and grease.
Machine number 8, pictured above, can be seen in action in the Instagram feed on this blog.
It has taken the form of a plain cardboard box which houses sensors and motors which effect a rather elegant dance whenever a change in light is detected. At the moment this is usually a passing human but I intend to make more of these machines that will, in various ways, activate each other.
In The Reproductive System, 1968, John Sladek presents a farcical machine of a novel made up of a huge array of parts, both human and machine, which grind together as they head towards mutual destruction. The eponymous protagonist is an endlessly replicating artificial intelligence made up of varying sized metal boxes. Each box deploys tools and sensors from its otherwise inscrutable body as need arises.