Random International: Temporary Printing Machine


One of the most engaging exhibits that we saw at the Design Art London fair last month was this Temporary Printing Machine by one of CH's fave interactive design collectives, rAndom International. This triptych, exhibited by the Carpenters Workshop Gallery under the title A Tribute to Francis Bacon, involves three frames each with a small camera, a digital printing device and light sensitive paper.

When a person approaches the frames on the wall the cameras take their portrait at timed intervals and at different angles. These captured images are then printed with light onto the paper in the frames. In an extraordinarily ephemeral way, your portrait appears and disappears before your very eyes as the light sensitive paper captures you—if only for a few seconds—before the image begins to fade away again.

While the Temporary Printing Machine might be a seemingly pointless exercise we enjoyed the interactive experience, the clever use of simple technology and the thoughts it provoked about the futility of trying to capture a moment in time and our obsession with our own image. The perfect moment came when I tried to snap the transient portraits on my own digital camera with frustrating results. This action only served to highlight the strangeness of our contemporary need to preserve every aspect of our lives on camera without just taking time to just enjoy the moment.


Check out more of rAndom International's fantastic work on their website, particularly the wonderful videos of their recent interactive installation Audience at the Royal Opera House in London.