We live in a world where everyone is in constant communication. Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a life without the ease and convenience of your cellphone’s touch screen keyboard and realtime communication capabilities. However, this modern interface finds it’s roots in the archaic, clunky typewriter and a good ‘ol piece of paper.
This outdated communication device is the source of inspiration for artist Jason Turgeon’s new project where he will create a massive Underwood typewriter (renamed Blunderwood), that is completely functioning and all to scale. He intends to exhibit it at Boston’s FIGMENT participatory and interactive art fair in July, and then at the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada.
Turgeon and his team are turning to Kickstarter in hopes to raise the funds that are needed to transport the piece from Boston to Black Rock City.
Turgeon says this about the antiquated piece of machinery: “The typewriter is quite literally a blank slate for anyone to project their words. It is a device of such universality that it needs no explanation, and it ties together our favorite elements of public art: spontaneous creative expression, collaboration, whimsy, and just a hint of danger.”
In Turgeon’s brief video documenting the creation of the giant Underwood, he explains that his inspiration originated from the old newspaper comic of Archy and Mehitabel. Too young to catch that reference? In short, Archy is a free verse poet reincarnated as a cockroach, Mehitbael is his alley cat companion, and Don Marquis is a newspaper columnist. Each night, Marquis would insert a fresh sheet of paper into his type writer and the cockroach and the cat would laboriously hop from key to key to produce a fresh poem, story, or observation on life.
As with the original Archy and Mehitabel newspaper column, each morning viewers will find a new poem in the paper tray. Turgeon and crew will pre-print these poems on 16’ wide vinyl billboard material and hoist one each morning.
Here’s the coolest part: At night, people walking around the keys will trigger the letters so that people can type on the projection screen.