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An Automaton-Maker's Artist Statement

We have become distanced from the things that surround us.

Few of us are capable of understanding how most modern technology is created, how it works, and the broad scope of how it affects our lives. The materials we encounter are exotic, synthetic, even hard to identify. The method of manufacture is typically massive, rapid, and profit-driven. We often acquire these things because we must have them to survive, to compete, to become more productive, more attractive, or more powerful. Furthermore, our technology is often the source of frustration: your car breaks down; your computer crashes; your television seems to show nothing but advertisements.

Sometimes, it seems as though the things in our lives, demand more from us than they give in return.

My automata are meant to offer some relief from the less-than-ideal relationships we have with the objects that fill the industrialized countries of the world.

  • Rather than synthetic materials, an automaton is made of wood, brass, glass, glue, and some pigment
  • The automaton has no incomprehensible electronic circuitry, just a few cams, gears and levers powered by a hand-crank
  • My automata are one-of-a-kind and made to last for generations
  • Many automata depict humans and animals -- creatures with whom we can relate
  • Automata are largely without "usefulness", as we typically understand the word. They serve to provide amusement, wonder, and perhaps to teach a little something about basic machines

We have choices about how to understand the world and how to shape it. I assert that it’s a good idea to have some things around that represent laudable human qualities such as perseverance, ingenuity, straightforwardness, beauty, and humor.

When you purchase from, you can help me support my site and my art by navigating there from any of the links on this site.

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Copyright 2002-2013, Dug North All rights reserved.
Dug North, Machini, and Machini the Marvel are Copyright 2004, Dug North
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Automata by
Dug North