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When Machines Learn To Draw The Inception of Writing

July 19, 2015

This was the best art installation I’ve seen in ages, only it wasn’t an art installation but an architecture graduate student’s thesis presentation. I don’t normally post photographs taken on devices other than my camera, and these certainly don’t do the project justice, but I’m posting these because I want to capture at least a fraction of how cool it was.

The project, Click Space by Jonah Ross-Marrs, dissects and reconfigures the steps that occur from the moment someone clicks “print” on their computer to the moment lines are printed on paper. Rudimentary printing machines were assembled from digital and analogue machine parts, and computer code was written not only to print the images of iconic works of architecture, but to break them down and offset them in different ways. This was a project about architectural
representation—drawing conventions and how they are used to design and communicate architecture.

I thought this was a wonderfully non-prescriptive investigation, even while much of the project was about script-writing and coding. The result of this thoughtful exploration were beautifully haunting images: drawings broken down to their most basic lines reminiscent of archaic glyphs. It was hard not to personify the crude printing machines that were seemingly writing in some form of ancient alphabet, as though they were eerily recreating the initial moments of human writing.

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