Remember the Spirograph toys you had when you were a kid, which let you draw mathematically precise hypotrochoids and epitrochoids (or, as I called them, “neat shapes”) without cracking a sweat? What if you had a Spirograph that was the size of an entire room? That’s the essential gist of Eske Rex’s enormous retro-tech sculpture “Drawingmachine,” which does exactly what its name suggests.
“Drawingmachine” is driven by two ominously heavy-looking pendulums swinging in tandem, which connect to two wooden “drawing arms” that hold a ballpoint pen in a joint where they meet. This relatively simple machine (inspired by Renaissance-era contraptions called harmonographs) provides an amazingly versatile range of motion while keeping a clean, precise style of drawing that only the naked laws of physics can produce.
According to the press release, “the pendulums are set in motion by hand, and their movements are represented on the paper. The movements of the pendulums affect the entire room, and the experience engages the beholder’s body. While the rhythmic repetitions cause the beholder to pause, the drawing emerges on the paper.”