28 February 2017
Architectural Association, London.
The Coligopulmogram, which literally means ‘connected lung registration’, has a strange relationship to its users: on the one hand it is strongly enticing, on the other, strongly repulsive.
The Coligopulmogram is a machine that draws simultaneously with four pencils over two axes. It is operated through the breathing of, ideally, four users. The breath inflates balloons that in turn move the axes by air pressure. Essentially, the users leave a conscious or subconscious imprint through their collective breath. To what extent a drawing is composed, or a natural result, is completely up to the users, and ranges widely from group to group.
There is a sense of intimacy between the Coligopulmogrammers- the breathers, so to say. Am I breathing in somebody else’s breath? Nobody knows for sure. Then there is the act of discovery, guided by the act of cooperation, finding out together what the machine actually does. In that sense the device brings people together, with the potential to solve underlying group issues. In a more casual environment it brings joy to children and teaches them cooperative behaviour. During the ‘eight minute exhibition’ at the Tate we registered both: grown-ups interacting with the device like small kids.
The machine creates rather artistic drawings. Sharp lines are alternated by strong curves, and sometimes by hesitant angles or quivering marks. The drawings are attractive; they form an unsuspected combination between the rational and the accidental. The ignorant observer would have a hard time guessing who the creator would be. When looking at the drawings from a scientific perspective, we find that we have a unique imprint of a multiple-connected psyche, which has the potential of revealing group dynamics and individual character traits. It is amazing to see how completely different the resultant drawings were for a range of audiences, from children and the public, to academic staff at the AA.
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