Drawing Machines: A Cherry Tree

digital images from processing

My zoetrope, a Cherry Tree, is composed of two pieces of digital drawing on each side of a round cardboard, two bands, two clips, two sticks, and a cardboard base. Viewer can see two images combining together by spinning the cardboard as many times as possible and letting go. The images I chose for my vision machine is from my another check-in. I tried to bring my digital zoetrope into reality. Due to the static state of a tree, my machine does not mean to create a motion or a continuous animation like a typical zoetrope. Instead, I expected it to combine two independent parts.

My zoetrope exactly reflects Paul Virilio’s definition about “the relative fusion/confusion of the factual and the virtual” in Broeckmann’s book. The images that this zoetrope provides to visitors is factual of the virtual. It utilizes human visual perception and make viewers accept their “illusion”. Viewers believe they see a new tree with cherries. Broeckmann says that “Like human perception, the vision machine operates in time, but it does so at a speed that decouples the machine reality from human reality: these synthetic-perception machines will be capable of replacing us in certain domains, in certain ultra high-speed operations for which our own visual capacities are inadequate”. The zoetrope escapes time but freezes time. It allows viewers to see a new tree with cherries flashing across, but the new tree does not exist in our real time and life. The zoetrope also stops the time, which shows visitors the combination of two parts instead of one by one. Broeckmann also mentions a machine’s task of making images. My zoetrope mixes two images and creates a new one.

Although my vision machine is very interesting and successful, it still has some details can be adjusted. First, the two sticks need to be more stable. I found it was distracting that it would move slightly when spinning the cardboard. Second, the two clips can be replaced by other things, which are not obvious. It reminds me the aesthetics of the vision machine in Broeckmann’s book. Visitors not only see the images created by vision machine, but also pay attention to the appearance of the machine. As a necessary part of a machine, the outer aesthetics renders the machine an intact artwork.

Author: Yexuan Wang