Artist John Peralta takes machines once familiar in every home – Singer sewing machines, Underwood typewriters, old film projectors, land cameras and more – and exposes their innovation and beauty as three-dimensional, exploded diagrams. “In 2005, while living in Hong Kong, I came across an exploded diagram of a bicycle on the back of a magazine,” says John. “I was inspired by its fragile beauty, and imagined a three-dimensional version with a real object. Using only a ruler and simple tools, which I still use today, I developed techniques for suspension which expose the inner workings of these humble mechanical objects. The subjects I choose for the Mechanations series are icons of utility and invention. I also like to think they hold memories that we’ve long forgotten. They’ve watched generations pass; recorded every scene, love letter, and document. Each image, word, and note is permanently imprinted on them.”
Some of his earliest memories are of he and his brother pulling their red wagon around the neighborhood, knocking on doors, collecting broken radios, televisions, tape players – anything they could get their hands on – opening them up to see what made them work.
Do we open up digital devices the same way, or get the same joy and feeling of physical endurance from laptops and smartphone as we once did from pressing the button on a camera, hitting the keys on a typewriter or writing ball, seeing the words, a kind of visual art, appear on paper. The actor Tom Hanks prefers to use a typewriter. Why? Rod Serling, the screenwriter, explained the typewriter’s role in the creative industry: “Writing is the easiest thing on Earth. I simply walk into my study. I sit down. I put the paper in the typewriter and I fix the margins and I turn the paper up and I bleed.”