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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Man and Machine

When man is sent to clean up his shed, he will easily find the following items within seconds: cowl from an 1890s Holmes stereoscope; two matching 1940s Kodak lens assemblies; copper carb float from Briggs & Stratton engine; old Bell and Howell Super-8 camera-grip; trombone bits; poem written a few years ago about dogs and stuff; brass parts off an irrigation control box.

Suddenly, the items link up in man's mind and his tidying chore changes. Where he expected junk, was determined and ruthless against junk and dedicated to its abolition, man is now awed and hypnotized by possibility, by collocation. Collocation is junk that assumes character and purpose in the presence of man --cool junk.

Oddments emerge from three centuries to combine on a bench. Man builds a machine. He names it Hoots. It will do cool stuff: function (function is things man is no good at) will follow form. In this case, the machine is a demonstrably remarkable public speaker.

Hoots recites its little poem with all the finesse of its maker: delayed, jerky gestures and sporadic mouth-paralysis. It has equalled man and relieved him of suffering the focus of these particulars in public. But, most importantly, it has distracted man from any further silly ideas about cleaning his shed.


  1. Rambling first take: I love your video of Hoots! Maybe you should make more of these for posterity! It's! And I suspect those parts are the ones you described in your piece? Good to hear you, too! It's sort of the opposite of "2001" more like 1921...

  2. Yes, closer to Fritz Lang than Stanley Kubrick. Hoots will doubtless return here as his skills improve. Having trouble with his wings --got any old umbrellas?


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