Week 22: Machine Project

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Mark Allen from Machine Project in LA.


Is Plausible Artworlds about machines? Though weird sounding, that may well be the right question to ask. There has been a lot of writing recently about machines — drawing on Marx’s unconventional Fragment on Machines and Deleuze & Guattari’s more orgiastic speculations on (desiring) machines — suggesting that machines are neither mere prostheses of our bodies (unlike tools) nor mere engines of alienation, but rather factors of communication, creating unthought-of connections and couplings. In other words, machines like artworlds, machines like us do not extend or replace artworlds and bodies but make new arrangements… well, plausible.

Machine Project is a non-profit presentation and educational space investigating art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature, food, and whatever else humans like to do. The Project occupies a storefront space in Echo Park and more broadly operates as a loose confederacy of artists producing shows at locations ranging from the Santa Monica beach to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Though the diversity and scale of a city like LA gives Machine Project a virtually inexhaustible energy source, our broader cultural moment seems ripe with the desire to build machines, work together and create new and hybrid forms of culture. This suggests there is a need to rebuild and retool, from the ground up and in a grassroots way, an infrastructure for spaces and communities that allow people to come together around a life of ideas. Machine Project has always been about encouraging people – machines like us, or even drastically unlike us – to make culture for themselves and encourage them to want to experience it together.