MACHINE BEAUTY

The other day, for the first time ever, I witnessed one of the school’s letterpress machines in motion. I was struck by the beauty of it, and reminded of a passage from David Gelernter’s book, Machine Beauty.

… I have always wished to believe that the line of strength and the line of beauty are one. That wish was realized when I contemplated American machinery… The rise and fall of the steel rods… the symmetrical motion of great wheels is the most beautiful rhythmic thing I have ever seen.”

And also…

You might experience something resembling machine beauty, even if you are no scientist or engineer, when you drive a nail into a board with one clean, graceful hammer stroke; you feel the beauty of ease and power mated, machine beauty, beautiful functioning… It must be graceful and look easy. It must be powerful, too—must accomplish something significant.”

Here is a video I took of this machine in motion. The quality is poor, but it still captures the fluidity and effortlessness that inspired me.

For a while now, I have also been thinking of creating some sort of animation that emulates this type of beautiful motion. It would be purely aesthetic, more like a study/tribute of the true power of machines.

10/20/2010 | Lindsey | Comments

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