Posts Tagged “machine tension”

I found this nugget of truth today in my daily review of online newsletters. This is from the mission statement of Los Angeles based kinetic artist Karl Lautmann

The power and ubiquity of technology has bred complacency among those who use it regularly (i.e. virtually everyone in the developed world). While most would agree that we should not place too much faith in machines, in reality we can’t help taking for granted that the light will go on when we flip the switch, the car will start when we turn the key, the plane won’t fall from the sky, …. Yet the capacity of machines to misbehave is endless.

In fact, it’s their nature. While this is a consequence of the laws of thermodynamics, it should be obvious that the engineer, the programmer, the operator, the maintenance person, all must work to coax the assemblage of metal, plastic, and electrons into performing the desired function, and keep performing it. Tossing the components of a personal computer into a bag and shaking won’t yield a personal computer. Normal use, however, (of a PC, a drill press, a blender), will lead to erratic behavior and, ultimately, failure.

I’m fascinated by this tension between what we want, and expect, a machine to do, and what the machine “wants” to do. I call it “machine tension.”


KarlLautmann.com via Geeky Gadgets

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