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PAUL PRUDENCE | TYPEWRITER DRAWINGS

"I had been aware of and inspired by the concrete poetry movement, and as a writer, I was thinking about ways in which I could combine writing and visual art for a while. It was only by chance that one day I found an old Silver Reed typewriter in a charity shop. I bought the machine, took it home, and it sat in the corner of my studio space for some months before I tried to use it.

When I did, the keys were a bit clogged and the ink was dry, so there was no typing to be had from it. Through a bit of frustration and some luck, I began to experiment with holding a pen in place while I typed and moved the platen roller up and down. I immediately recognised that I had a rudimentary mechanical plotting system sitting right in front of me.

The idea of having a hand-operated mechanical plotter in the age of expensive and sophisticated electronic plotters amused me. From then on, I set out to explore ways in which to develop techniques for mimicking processes and algorithms. Even after nearly three years of using this technique, I am still finding new patterns and systems.

I haven’t considered working with a plotter because I am fascinated by what happens when I try to 'become' the program and think like an algorithm. By casting myself as an iterative loop and obeying the discreet instructions of a program, I become aware of certain features and processes that are usually inaccessible. I can experience the iterations, interactions, and repetitions of a program in 'human time' rather than at the hyper-accelerated rate of computational time, where those processes have become abstracted and hidden within an enterprise of invisible electronic interactions. When I attempt to think (and type) like an algorithm, I enter into an internal machine-like monologue and become the looped-I-am."

– Paul Prudence, December 2023