The Appearance Machine
The Appearance Machine is a perpetual animation device. It slowly grinds away, manufacturing scatological dramas from wrappers, packing material and other debris salvaged from its immediate surroundings. These objects form the set and become characters of a self-evolving, televisual world that is delivered to select locations via live feed from a broadband Internet link.
The Appearance Machine consists of a turntable, a shifting surface upon which the raw materials are deposited, and a camera-switching systems that collects and composes sequences of images that appear to tell a story. The machine performs an alchemic process, turning garbage into a narrative using the grammar of the cinema – shot-reverse-shot, 180-degree rule and function hierarchy of close-up, mid and long shots. Through a live image analysis (using David Rokeby’s Very Nervous System), the machine also composes and performs its own accompanying soundtrack.
Feedback loops between the various aspects of the perpetually evolving piece give rise to the "intelligence" of the machine. Changes in camera angle, perspective and lighting augment the reconfiguration of the materials that occur through vibration, air pressure changes and physical manipulation. The result is a multi-dimensional system that appears to possess articulate intentions, but nonetheless relies heavily on the power of suggestion and the viewer’s willingness to engage in the projection and identification.
The Appearance Machine is part of an ongoing installation by Willy LeMaitre and Eric Rosenzveig, who have been collaborating on artworks since 1993.
Click here to view an archive of the original Appearance Machine exhibition website.
The Appearance Machine is presented as part of the 2000 Images Festival.