The drawing machine plots images, reducing the practice of drawing to the gesture of tracing and inscription, without body, awareness, expressivity. It is the latest in a series of projects that have successively eliminated perception, expressivity, and now manual labor from drawing to see what remains.
Perhaps just the act of inscription. Or the production of an empty art object. What is left to eliminate?
Does the drawing machine have an essential character? Yes, a machinic character. Like other Computer Numeric Control (CNC) devices, it automates production, operating with a patience, repeatability, and precision which a human could not achieve. Drawing a grid is it’s “bread and butter.”
Sol Lewitt’s wall drawings are the best comparison to the drawing machine, with implications for understandings of work and labor in creative practice. They separate the labor of the project of drawing from conceptualization of the piece. Invisible labor of untold gallery assistants manufacture patterns according to the rule systems he created. My drawing machine raises the question, what distinguishes machine labor from hired human labor?
The drawings are in chronological order.