The Pete Montford Art-Making Machine

Created for Pete's Final Degree show in 2010. It was the ultimate act of sacrifice for art. Giving up his human existence and turning himself into an Art-Making Machine.

After months of deliberation, trying to work out how to go about producing the his piece to put in the final show, Pete decided the final solution would have to be something epic and extrodinary. Having dedicated himself fully to his Fine Art and Philosophy degree for 4 years, the only way to finish was to go one step further and give up the rest of his life to his course. It seemed clear. Transforming himself into the art-making machine would be the ultimate and final dedication.

The Art-Making Machine Pete poured over books on quantum mechanics, advanced biological states and the meaning of art, trying to work out the best way to create the ultimate art-making machine. Slowly but steadily the machine's mechanics and life support system were devised and the art-creating process was defined. After many months of planning and building Pete finally completed the project with only a matter of days until the piece was due to be presented.

(It is not commonly known, but Pete featured in a film, made during his final days before he stepped into the machine. Nicholas P.H. Barton was the director and producer of the film called Samhain. It can be found by clicking HERE


OTTER and RETTO would support Pete while he was in the machine. On the 4th June 2010, OTTER and Pete met for the final time before Pete became the machine. He briefed OTTER on excatly what he and RETTO needed to do, handed over a piece of paper on which was written his last words. Turning away from OTTER he slowly climbed into the machine...

OTTER presenting Pete's last words to the audience

On the 7th June, the first presentation was to be made. OTTER fulfilled Pete's wishes and presented his final words to the audience. He then led them down to the machine itself.

The audience members were invited to choose a book from the shelf, this would be the first input that starts the rest of the process. Once the book is put into the machine, it scans the pages and starts up the stone shuffler.
The books that start the machine's inspiration
Black and white stones fall through the tubes hanging from the top and down into the tray below. When there are sufficient stones at the bottom, a photo is taken of the stones and this is inputted in the first of the printers.
The stones fall from the pipe creating the random image
The paper feeds up through all 3 printers so each page is overlayed with the last inputs information. The first printer prints the image of the stones, the second printer prints encoded versions of the pages from the book that went in at the beginning and the third printer prints the title of the book.
The printers developing the photographs
For the final stage the piece of paper is taken from the 3rd printer and put onto the conveyor belt. It is wound up the top where the machine draws or writes randomly on the page before it comes back down again. The art work is then done and handed to the audience to take away with them.
The conveyor that transfers the final sketch to the audience to take away

OTTER and RETTO help Pete while he's in the machine as his system was never 100% foulproof. He did however do the vast majority of the work while the machine was running. He had full control over the art-making process itself and although OTTER had to step in now and again to aid him, overall Pete's system was the most accomplished and self sufficient art-making machine the world had ever seen..