So it has come to this: Even our Rube Goldberg machines, those monuments to inefficiency, are exploiting social media, today’s monuments to efficiency.
Melvin the Machine is a Rube Goldberg machine that does what all Rube Goldbergs do: perform simple tasks as extravagantly as possible. But he’s got a loftier goal in life: shameless self-promotion. So when he does a live show — popping balloons and smashing porcelain hippos and lighting stuff on fire — he snaps photos and shoots video of his audience, then posts everything online. He has more than 400 friends on Facebook. Naturally, he tweets, too. (Oct. 31: ?I made a picture?; Oct. 31: “I made a picture?; Oct. 31: “I made a video.?)
[Fun design factoid: The film was shot in the De Ploeg, a beautiful old factory designed by Gerrit Rietveld.]
A mindless machine — seemingly complex, but ultimately unburdened by any substance — who manipulates the levers of modern communication in the name of self-invention? Melvin just might be the ultimate 21st-century celebrity.