Earlier in the week we found this video featuring the handiwork of Viktor, a large scale wall-drawing image making tool. The machine is an amalgam of digital and mechanical technologies, becoming a collage of tools, all of which were invented for other general and specific uses. Viktor is a robotic chalk-drawing machine created in 2008 by the designers Jürg Lehni and Alex Rich, who share a fascination with the role of technology in design and are intent on exploring this interest through the creation of new tools and machines. Jürg Lehni states, “I wanted to make new things with new meanings using what I knew already,” he says. “I wanted to bring back the spirit of printing or publishing or design from the past, but using modern technology. My computers became my working tools, my brushes and paint.”
Viktor is conceived as being far from a closed mechanical device – a black box between creative impulse and output – but rather is described as the ‘nuanced interaction between the user and the technologies of communication’. In a recent interview Jürg Lehni explained his perspective on technology. ‘we are all being sold proprietary software all the time and being told how to use it in a prescriptive way, but it is possible, if we know how, to bend it to our own will and to use it in a different way. The capacity of this software is not anticipated by us and it often has poetic potential.’
The exhibit demonstrates this ‘poetic potential’ by injecting a degree of humanity into the mechanical nature of machines. Viktor works by covering an entire blackboard-painted gallery wall reproducing texts and drawings that elaborate on the themes of the show which is derived from talks and workshops.
The video shows Viktor illustrating the lecture “5000 Years of Chairs” by Michael Marriott about the development of the world through advances in chair making technologies spanning five thousand years. The talk was held on the occasion of the exhibition “A Recent History of Writing & Drawing” by Jürg Lehni & Alex Rich, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2008.
Find the Video for Viktor here: http://vimeo.com/16379803
Website for Jürg Lehni: http://lehni.org/
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