logo mischer'traxler

collective works
2011 - ongoing | process | commissioned by Design Miami & W Hotels | for 'W-Hotels Designer of the future' award
collective works'collective works' - machine in interaction with the audience
the more people as audience, the more colour the machine adds

detail recorder one

explanation video including a timelapse | for video click image or watchhere
detail of the drawing markerdetail of the drawing marker
"top view onto the machine's main mechanical components"
one of the first sketches of 'collective works'one of the first sketches of 'collective works'
resulting basketsresulting veneer baskets
veneer basketone finished basket with the original veneer roll and markers
detail of a basket's labeldetail of a basket's label
some basket which were produced during Design Miami/Basel in June 2011some baskets which were produced during Design Miami/Basel in June 2011
some baskets which were produced during Milan Design Week 2012
how to 'read' from the baskets
collective works machine with display table for the finished baskets
material and colouring testsmaterial and colouring tests

‘Collective works’ is a production process which is just fully functioning when people pay attention to the producing machine. Reacting to its audience, the process translates the flow of people into an object. The resulting outcome varies in colour and size just like the level of interest is varying during the time of production.

As soon as one person is coming close and looks at the machine, the production process is started: A wooden 24mm wide veneer-strip is pulled through a glue basin and slowly coiled up around a 20mm thick wooden base. Since the turning platform with the base moves downwards the veneer strip slowly builds up a basket. Once a second person joins to look at the process, a light tone colour is added via a marker onto the veneer. The more people come to look at the machine, the more markers are activated, each with a gradient darker tone. This goes up to four markers, at the same time, staining the veneer-strip black.

The interaction is possible due to sensors in the frame of the machine which detect the audience. Depending on the overall interaction time the baskets' height is defined. The more often somebody stops by to watch the process the higher the outcome gets.

The machine directly reacts to each observer and thus the outcome is as well directly depending on the audience. Every spectator leaves a mark on the object and therefore each basket becomes an unique record of the people's interest in the object's production. A basket – a vessel used to collect something becomes a collection of data by itself. If nobody is interested in the project, it stops producing at all and the final object just does not get made. This can be seen as 'production on interest'.

'Collective works' also questions the relation between man and machine. The audience is turned into workers even tough their effort is basically just their time they spend with the machine - but time is what most of us lack. Somehow. Normally many machines in factories just need some technician to monitor the production and suddenly one machine needs some audience to produce colourful, vivid outcomes.

This project was initially developed for the ‘W-hotels designer of the Future award’ exhibition at Design Miami/Basel 2011.

electro-technical support: Michael Zeltner
project assistant: Greta Hauer

with lot of special thanks to Martin Robitsch
for all his time and help and great support for
this project.

material: wood, custom made electronics, motor, sensors, electromagnets, metal, marker
dimensions: 160cm x80cm x115cm

material: wooden veneer, glue, colour
dimensions: Ø45cm, height: depending on the interaction time, but max. 45cm


Wu Guanzhong Art & Science Innovation Award (winner), China, 2012


Design Miami
W Hotels