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On Monday i went to Tate Archives to look at some of the many AGP documents they have. It was a good visit and it was fascinating to read not only what was contained within the documents but to see their range in terms of appearance and method of writing (by hand or by typewriter). Artist’s letterheads, many simple in design are interesting social documents, i feel rather sad that with a recent ‘mailbox quote exceeded warning’ i deleted many of my emails to do with the digital making project. Emails are often beautifully perfunctory communications about all manner of subjects giving an insight beyond the press release and official communication surrounding projects in process. We can’t keep all our electronic communications but what will be in the archives of the future?

In the documents i looked at there was repeated mention of APG’s time based theory and the relationship between short and long term interests. As an artist i take a long view, with each project developing into the next, sometimes following some obscure routes but nevertheless being interconnected in someway. How the business world manages short and long term interests is something that i want to look into further, and how the role that privatisation, multinationals and globalised contexts have altered these interests. The Corporation offers interesting and often shocking perspectives on the growth of business and it effects on people and the planet http://www.thecorporation.com . There was also descriptions of the artist as ‘incidental person’, which initially puzzled me as i was thinking about APG wanting artists to be seen as equals to other professional people. But on clarifying my understanding of the word – ‘accompanying but not a major part of something’ it offers the artists the opportunity to observe without having to consider the interests of the company directly, having the freedom to put forward ambitious or simply unexpected suggestions. I’m still very much considering this research and will re-visit to archive to look at further documents.

In contrast to my Tate visit, on Wednesday i went to the Engineering and Advanced Manufacture Exhibition (EAME) held at Hethel. I do admit to feeling rather out of my comfort zone, with it being an engineering trade fair, however Derek and Ben where on hand as guides and once i got going i felt less self conscious about my naivety about engineering. In fact i had a couple of positive comments about my engineering knowledge! I spoke to number of people in some depth, as far as my knowledge and understanding would take me.

I spoke with the sales rep from +GF+ AgieCharmilles, who was very helpful in explaining the basics of a economic ED wire cutter (see images)! which all felt new to me, but Derek had suggested maybe i had seen a smaller version on a Hethel workshop tour earlier in the residency. It was no coincidence that the sales rep had a tie which matched the orange trim on the machine. He gave me a demo of the machine, i struggled a bit to keep up with the technical information but the aesthetics of the thing were striking.

After a look round and a chat with Ben, i talked with the sales engineer from neuteq. Whilst looking at the robot he had brought along we discussed favorite artists (his was Salvador Dali – i couldn’t choose one – never can) and how the robot is changing the shape of manufacturing and production. It’s interesting as these machines can be placed in all manner of contexts, food packaging (including pretzel packaging would you believe), engineering, metalworking industry. It stuck me how each industry might once have had its own machinery to a greater extent and how that diversity is now becoming more homogenised, it could be in time that we see the same machines which are likely to include an increasing number of robots, in all manner of contexts. I couldn’t hep feeling slightly uncomfortable at being told that the robots make the new robots, much like Rapid Prototyping machines being used to make parts for new Rapid Prototyping machines, there seems to be something of mechanical evolution in this scenario.