Flame Hardened Bed

June, 2005

The site of production for Inscription, has a significance beyond some breezy fascination with the "making of" things. The machine shop instantiates a particular machinic aesthetic. While one can perhaps trace a complicated genealogy of this style of the machine–starting with the Constructivists and the Futurists, passing through the Bechers, and taken up by more contemporary exponents of industrial culture like Throbbing Gristle or Survival Research Laboratories–I am content simply to observe the persistence of characteristic forms and colors and sounds across a long history, and the connection of these traits to the desire for the machine.

The culture of the shop is saturated by the sexy lines and bold colors of its machines. The atmosphere is feral, dangerous, dirty, and musked. To make machines requires a certain gendered mastery of this place and its tools–its rules and its physicality. In constructing the machine for Inscription, I had to acquire a range of skills that always felt foreign, no matter how well I learned them. This, to me, was the drag of the shop–its masquerade. I did not initially aspire to rule it like a faux king, but I did wear the kit and assume the postures of masculinity in order to do my job. Still, effete, I waltzed away from the stage after each episode, shed my drag and blew it kisses.

Here is the stage with its quaint sets and lipsticked collars. I took the photos (as if I were) in the thrall of a nostalgic reverie. And, maybe I was.

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