Artist gives new life to old machines (video)

Sculpture artist Jeremy Mayer sees life in old machines, deconstructing typewriters and transforming the anatomical parts into life-like sculptures.

Sculpture artist Jeremy Mayer sees life in old machines, deconstructing defunct typewriters and transforming their keys and cogs into life-like sculptures.

For 15 years, Mayer has been making his mechanical creations, breaking down the writing machines to their basic parts and rebuilding them into human and animal-like sculptures. The machines, Mayer says, are infused with the energy of the works that have been typed on them over the years. He says he imagines the hundreds of wedding invitations, love letters, and draft notices that might have been carefully typed out on the typewriters' keys.

During a visit to his studio in Oakland, Calif., Mayer showed me how he works. With tiny pieces scattered about in a maddening mess, he says the process can be nerve-wracking and that he spends as much time thinking as piecing together the parts.

Inspired by the rich baroque futurism of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" and Terry Gilliam's 1989 film "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen," Mayer envisions these layers of mechanics and seemingly infinite linkages between movements morphing into living, self-replicating robots. Indeed, spread out on his studio tables, screws, levers, springs, and wheels resemble anatomical parts, taking on new life as metallic muscles, tendons, and bones.

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