The Wilderness Machine

The Wilderness Machine  2010

The Wilderness Machine is the physical extension of the online piece The Wilderness Downtown.   The machine generates postcards from the handwritten notes created by viewers of the interactive film. Each postcard is a person writing to their younger selves.  The machine uses a suction arm to transfer a blank postcard to a metal podium where a mechanical pen is programmed to reproduce the original pen strokes. Then, a claw arm tosses the postcard out of a slot in its Plexiglas casing.  Each postcard contains a unique code that allows the random recipient to return to the website and write a digital postcard back to the original sender.  Sort of a modernized version of the message in a bottle concept. The postcards are printed on compostable seeded paper, which when planted will grow into birch trees, attempting to recreate the end of the digital piece in the real world.  The machine has appeared at Arcade Fire concerts, the Wired Magazine pop-up space in NYC, and the 2011 Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier exhibit.  

The Wilderness Machine is now programmed to tweet, one postcard per day.