Autonomous Machines: Windup Toys and Other Analog Devices Express Themselves through Art

autonomous-1Tiny Toy, Chicken.

Tin Toy, Chicken. Watercolor & cotton swab.

Tin Toy, Chicken. Watercolor & cotton swab.

Tin Toy, Chicken. Fountain pen ink.


Walkman. Color pencil.

Windup Alarm Clock.


As part of her MA work at the Design Academy Eindhoven, artist and graphic designer Echo Yang created a series titled Autonomous Machines where common analog devices like tin windup toys, a Walkman, an alarm clock and other machines were connected to writing and painting instruments. As each machine was set loose on a canvas its specialized motions were translated into brush strokes, paint blobs, and pencil marks resulting in self-generated artworks somewhat reminiscent of spirographs. While conceptual artists have long been recording the actions of machines, plants, wind and other moving objects to generate artwork, Yang’s painting wind-up chicken toy stands out as a superbly executed idea. It would be great to see a whole series of those. You can see many more painting vacuum cleaners, hand mixers and electric razors on her website. (via MOCO LOCO)

See related posts on Colossal about , .