Artwork highlights 'ephemeral nature' of digital age (a big fancy e-frame)

A tad more impressive than a digital frame - a specialist art collective, Random International, has developed an installation piece that uses a photosensitive canvas to capture a temporary image that cycles every two minutes.

The prototype ‘Temporary Printing Machine’ was the result of a joint commission from Creative Review magazine and Selfridges of London, and recently formed a window display in the famous store.

"This machine taught us a valuable lesson about designing for reliability. It had to perform continuously, day after day, which placed a considerable strain on its moving parts,” explained Hannes Koch, one of the founders of Random International.

The final version will be produced in a limited edition of 15 - and uses automation components from Festo, a company specialising in electrical automation technology.

Each machine comprises a large canvas covered in a pigment that is reactive to ultra-violet light, a pair of linear actuators hidden behind the vertical frames, and a horizontal scanning bar equipped with an array of ultraviolet LEDs.

A built-in raster image processing (RIP) system, synchronised to the vertical movement of the scanning bar, converts the images to pulses of LED drive current - one line at a time.

A typical machine measures 1.7 x 1.2m and is fitted with a 128-LED scanning bar to achieve a relatively coarse horizontal resolution for maximum artistic effect. The final images are monochromatic and cycle every two minutes.

Well greased, it has sufficient reserves for 10,000km of travel, and can also be replenished without having to reach into the device’s housing.

The first Temporary Printing Machine is currently on display at the Christopher Henry Gallery in New York City.

There is a video presentation of the installation at www.vimeo.com/1264466 and the password for the presentation is random2.

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