Thursday, October 2, 2014

Penny Smasher: Phase One

calibrating pressure, using a die made by Bill Ball
The penny smasher (or penny crusher/elongator/press) project with Stuart Anderson is moving swiftly this fall! It's invigorating to finally see this project develop into something tangible, as we've had many fits and starts since originally developing the concept back in 2008. Lately, Stuart has done almost all of the work, handling the intricate machining and mathematics to get a prototype up and running. This first phase cranks out one single-sided penny design at a time, and we're currently finishing up some various designs for these initial dies which will test the possibilities/limitations on illustration detail.

the single-penny prototype
From there, we'll start working with a crew of selected artists to generate final designs within our overall theme this winter. The machine, when finished, will incorporate over a dozen double-sided designs which users will be able to shuttle through at will. Thematically, we are focusing on human perceptions of the changing animal world, addressing use-value, extinction, urban adapters, alpha- and mesopredators, and even (probably) cryptids. Our hope is to tour the machine around the country, both in a subterranean way (re: in the back of a van) and also more formally through institutions willing to temporarily house the project (museums large and small). 

For now, once these first test dies get heat-treated (and we fabricate a nicer crank arm for the machine) we plan to do a series of informal events next month, rolling out this first prototype penny crusher and clamping it to the tailgate of my truck, and parking at various arts happenings in Pittsburgh or whatever else we dream up. The final machine will debut late spring 2015. Stay tuned!

We're keeping a Tumblr of everything we're doing in relation to this still-unnamed project, which you can see (and follow) here.

Stuart's notebook

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