The Point of Being Pointless

Machines, including we supposedly high level, meat-space mechanisms, have an end button; a point in time when things shut down. For humans, we don’t know when that moment will occur, hence our inability to plan out our ramaining days. One machine, however, knows exactly when time is up.


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At Birmingham’s IKON Gallery, Kristoffer Myskja, known for building useless devices (on purpose), has built another; this one called “A Machine that uses a thousand years to shut itself down”. It’s a wiry, fragile, gear-like structure that does nothing but work consistently for 1000 years, at which time its day is done, and it shuts down. The point of the sculpture is that it has no point, and, in the end, it’s not that much different than the Sun. In fact, the machine runs on solar power, so Myskja is counting on the Earth’s energy source to provide the man-made machine with a full and fruitful life. I wonder if his device will have a mid-life crisis, and attempt to run backwards halfway through?

One thousand years of doing one thing, a lot.

In an interview with IKON Gallery, Myskja says, “A machine is by definition a useful device made to relieve us of work. My machines on the other hand are made to look like functional devices… but the work they do has no real purpose.” Ah, but they do. They relieve us from doing any work at all. Investing time watching something with no real purpose becomes a perfect time waster. We become the machine watching the machine do nothing. Now who has the superior intelligence?

The machine watches the machine.

Inspiration brought to you by David Green @ ContemporaryMonkey