PEOPLEText: Yasuharu Motomiya

The exhibition and installation of the drawing machine “HEKTOR” by creative unit Field Trip was performed at gallery Information in Tokyo. This drawing machine HEKTOR is a bit unusual, incorporating a spray attached to a machine that automatically glides on a wall. The can draws images that are inputted through a PC. HEKTOR’s performances have been done all over the world, this is its first time in Japan.

It is the creative unit Field Trip that organized this exhibition and performance with HEKTOR. Field Trip members include Alex Rich, Jonathan Hares and Jurg Lehni (one of the developers of HEKTOR). They work together despite being situated in London, Lausanne and Tokyo. In this interview, I was able to hear from members Alex and Jurg.

First of all, could you tell me the way “Field Trip” started?

Alex: The first idea was let’s bring our separate specialties and work together. It was the beginning.

Jurg: We thought we could bring and share things utilizing each others background.

Alex: Normally, we work in our separate countries and studios. Regardless, we are in constant contact: I’m in Tokyo, Jonathan in London, Jurg in Switzerland. Our studio is like a virtual one and we have good relations thanks to excellent technology such as iChat. It is interesting to work together in spite of living separately.

Then could you tell me in more depth about HEKTOR?

Jurg: First of all, HEKTOR is the name of the device, which automatically draws a picture on a wall with a spray can controlled by a PC. We attach two motors to the wall and hang a spray can in the center with a bit of wire stretched between them. Finally we manipulate it with the PC. It’s a bit of a strange system, quite different from the principles of a usual XY printer.

Its physical appearance is very comical, for it moves as it dances on a wall. The process of its drawing is very interesting to see. It is something like a so-called performance tool. Therefore, we are often able to use it at exhibitions where visitors can see the process of drawing in front of them. Its pace is so slow that you can see how its drawing goes.

Alex: Moreover, the interface for handling it is quite interesting. (Showing photos of operation screen on the material that was actually used) on this red line, a spray can moves.

You develop a software program, don’t you?

Jurg: Yes. Actually, I’m best at programming. I started studying programming for real through self-education at 14 and also continued working on pictures and sounds. In college, I majored in engineering and found that I’d like to apply things like that in a creative way, taking a route for art. Programming is such a logical task that I ponder about its construction. This is, however, such a systematic task that this can’t be said to be healthy. I get balanced through a teamwork approach like this project (Field Trip, etc.) or exhibitions like this.

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