Jürg Lehni. Viktor

Viktor – 5000 Years of Chairs. 2008. Dc motors, tool head, sprung steel coils, cables, scriptographer software. Developed in collaboration with BRUNO THURNHERR and MARCELL ACKERKNECHT, Defekt gmbh © JÜRG LEHNI

Viktor, a large wall-drawing machine that is controlled by an adapted design software and powered by four small industrial motors, traces imagery in chalk on the black gallery wall: a project between art, design, and engineering by Swiss independent designer, developper and artist JÜRG LEHNI.

Over the past years he worked on a family of projects that are all linked through his reflections about tools, the computer and the way we work with and adapt to technology. Most of these projects were collaborations with people from other backgrounds (graphic designers, artists, typgoraphers and engineers) like Hektor. Hektor is similar to Viktor but uses two motors instead of four and employs spray paint rather than chalk and it has been invented in collaboration with the engineer ULI FRANKE. This machine made its debut as JÜRG LEHNI’s art-school graduation project at the Ecole Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) in 2002 and has performed regularly ever since.

Far from being a closed mechanical device — a black box between creative impulse and output — the concern of Hektor (and now Viktor) is the nuanced interaction between the user and the technologies of communication. The drawing machine Viktor is an amalgam of digital and mechanical technologies. A collage of tools, all of which were invented for other general and specific uses.

I wanted to make new things with new meanings using what I knew already,” he says. “I wanted to bring back the spirit of printing or publishing or design from the past, but using modern technology. My computers became my working tools, my brushes and paint.” – by JÜRG LEHNI

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