Mark making using a miniature robot.

Various paint colours applied to robot's feet pins and the robot switched on or off for differing time periods.

In thinking about making marks I was struck by the the balance between conscious observation and less conscious emotional feeling. I wondered what it might be like to simply devoid oneself of any intervention in the process and use that as a means of opening my thoughts to possibilities.

I constructed a small robot from a shop purchased kit and I imagined that the vibrations created by the motor could be used to make marks on a surface if something was attached to the small pins on the robot that vibrated. I tried to attach a small pencil initially but the robot kept falling over, so instead I thought of applying acrylic paint to foot pins and seeing if that would leave a mark as the robot vibrated across the paper. It did and by changing paint colour and the length of time the robot was left on, different lengths and mark thickness patterns were made. Looking at these I didn't find them dissimilar to marks that I might make myself on paper in terms of variation, length and density.

This was a playful experiment about not intervening which was similar to ideas of automatic writing or drawing and keeping going without any conscious process of thought about form or aesthetic. I found the exercise useful not only as an engaging idea but also in the sense it helped me think less specifically consciously about what I might do when faced with a blank piece of paper and an object. It was an exercise not in randomness although the robots marks are clearly that but more one in opening my thinking, which often can be difficult for me when holding a pencil. I have to work hard at transferring what is there emotionally into and through the pencil. My exposure at school was very formal to the drawing process and largely consisted of something being right or wrong, typically wrong if non representational so that is something I work through in exercises such as this.

 

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