In 2012, a video on the Internet about using a computer hard drive to make marshmallows aroused my strong interest: what an absurd but poetic story. So, I embarked on an ‘adventure’ with unknown results: I started a production project, that was, after setting some related restrictions, I planned to dismantle an Mac computer completely, and then combine each part that was removed—trying to make a real cotton candy machine.
During the whole production process, some professional computer technicians and mechanics intervened and helped. Without knowing the feasibility and success rate at all, all intervening professionals took a serious attitude to complete this process, a process of transition from high technology to low technology, from digital technology to simple machinery.
The final result was: the cotton candy machine was indeed made, but because the hard drive's rotation speed and heating temperature were completely below the standard, this machine had no practical functions. So, is the original online video real or fake, absurd or poetic? Perhaps in our real life, the difference between the two is not important anymore. So this work was named
, and the two-month performance-based production process is the work itself.
项目记录片 Documentary of the whole process, 12’6’’, 2012
This work is a performance that lasted for two months. I was more like a director throughout the process, directed a production which was without functional output.
There were countless technical problems and obstacles during the production, some of which were unsolvable. For example, a computer expert once pointed out that the rotational speed of the hard disk was far below the rotational speed of the cotton candy machine, so the video on the Internet might be fake. But after he understood my intentions, he continued to study how to approach the final goal as much as possible.The same went for other technicians and friends who helped me. Without knowing the feasibility and success rate at all, everyone is serious and professional to complete each detail. This seriousness made the entire production process even more absurd.
The Mac machine I chose to disassemble was the first generation Mac produced in the 90s. Under the premise of not using violence, not destroying every part, the dismantling process became very complicated and slow.
The picture below is the collection of all parts after all disassembly was completed, and the total number was much more than previously expected. I did a rough count at the time, and there were hundreds of screws alone.
All the disassembled parts will be reused in the production of the cotton candy machine, and no new parts or materials will be added during the whole process.
反转的炼金术展出现场 Exhibition site of
De Appel Arts Centre
Composition of works:
The failed cotton candy machine: Mac computer, about 50*50cm*102cm
Documentary: projector on the wall, 12’6“
After the cotton candy machine was completed, I chose to verify its practical functions for the first time on the night of the opening of the exhibition.
不出所料，因为硬盘的转速和加热温度完全达不到糖融化的标准，所以在折腾半个多小时并且耗光了三个喷火器之后，这个机器宣布制作失败。而观众非常热心的参与，为我出主意和提建议，这个让这个长达两个月荒诞行为有了一个完美的结局。Unsurprisingly, because the speed and heating temperature of the hard disk did not meet the standards for melting sugar, after more than half an hour of trial and exhaustion of three flamethrowers, the machine was declared a failure. But all the audiences were very enthusiastic about participating, giving ideas and suggestions, which made this two-month-long absurd behavior a perfect ending.
Documentary screenshot: The first time to use this cotton candy machine to make sugar, and failed.