the ocatgon and copper front in Ian's carpentry workshop

Working with Ian

It has been great to work again with Ian Jones from Sherwood Wood (in Nottingham). We worked previously on The Prediction Machine in 2014/15 and it is such a pleasure to collaborate with him and have the opportunity to work with someone with such amazing skills, vision and attention to detail as Ian. This time I was able to spend time in the workshop with him and learn more about the process, help with the glueing and putting together of the carpentry.

This process was a little bit more complicated than with The Prediction Machine as it evolved along the way and wasn’t clearly one physical object that was reasonably familiar – The Prediction Machine was based on an end of the pier fortune telling machine and had a very strong aesthetic from the start.

The Future Machine has several components. We started with my small carboard maquettes that were more in the style of the Victorian steam punk-ish aesthetic that I had developed with The Prediction Machine, but as the workshops in London and Nottingham took place and I did more research Future Machine started to evolve into something more timeless and mysterious, influenced by the Monolith in the film 2001: A Space Oydessy, the Jaggernath “Lord of the Universe’ stone and wood sculptures on wheels from India, the Oracle at Delphi from Ancient Greece and totemic and talismanic symbols of fate, luck and fortune.

Building the machine began with finding the trolley (below) and working from a set of drawings of the Octagon with trumpets on either side. As I worked with the tech team, Ian, and later the equally skilled metal workers Miles and Lee from Creative Irony, the rest of the shape and elements were worked out and created including the copper trumpets for the speaker and microphone on either side of the octagon. Ian’s amazing knowledge of finishes led us to a skip manufacturers in Alfreton who lightly sandblasted the Ash octagon to give it a strange texture, bringing out the straight, beautifully coloured grain. This has then been varnished with natural (completely non toxic) clear varnish to protect it from the elements.

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