Pulse Machine


This electromechanical sculpture was ‘born’ in Nashville, Tennessee on 2 June 2012, at 6:18 PM. It has been programmed to have the average human lifespan of babies born in Tennessee on that same day: approximately 78 years. The kick drum beats its heartbeat (at 60 beats per minute), and the mechanical counter displays the number of heartbeats remaining in its lifetime. An internal, battery-operated clock keeps track of the passing time when the sculpture is unplugged. The sculpture will die once the counter reaches zero.

Made in collaboration with Alicia Eggert

Shown at:

Collision21: More Human, Boston Cyberarts Gallery
Jamaica Plain, MA





ASPECT v.21: A Good Place to Stop

Pulse Machine (2012) stands out not because the work itself is so much stronger than the others featured in the Volume, but because the document ventures beyond the original object and uses the video medium to bring additional context and meaning to the piece. Foremost a kinetic sound sculpture, the Pulse Machine is a bass drum hooked via an Arduino controller to a clock which will count down the seconds of an average human lifespan, then stop. The drum beats like a heart; the clock ticks like a bomb. Through a sequence of exquisitely composed shots, impeccable sound editing, and a surprising twist at its conclusion (which I won’t divulge!), the documentation transforms the sculpture into a tense and symbolically charged video. -Stephanie Cardon