Sunday, March 25, 2012

George Brecht | Universal Machine

George Brecht
Universal Machine
Cologne, Germany: Edition MAT MOT and Galerie der Spiegel, 1965
11 x 11 x 1 1/2 inches
A black linen box containing a plane of glass, under which is a sheet of paper printed with collaged clip-art. Atop the collage sit 10 objects: a large metal screw, a broken piece of mirror, two small red beads, a stone bead, a metal ring, a stone, two small nails and a wooden numeral 4.
Edition of 111 signed copies.

Presumably named after the computer (or a[uto]-machine] invented by theoretician Alan Turing, which he famously decreed was not just a calculator, but a 'universal machine', Brecht's machine is designed to shaken, so that the items randomly obscure the images. The box contains a text indicating how an interpretation of the objects in relation to the images can answer different questions for the user. A second edition, made of wood, was released under the title Universal Machine II.

Ben Vautier: Could you give me a description of what you're preparing for Editions Mat Mot?

George Brecht: It's a Universal Machine for doing everything. For writing a novel, making a poem, composing a piece of music, for finding lost objects. You can use it as a watch, as a calendar. It can invent new mathematics, a new form of thought. Map out an itinerary for a trip.

Available here, for £3,500 or here for $6000 US.

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