Plink Jet, plucking inkjet printers

Lesley Flanigan, Andrew Doro

One of the most common practices in the media art field has always been the hacking of everyday tools, like the countless devices that expand our own computer potential. In recent years, within this trend, we can single out a specific one that uses different kinds of printers with a pure performative approach. After the paradigmatic Dot Matrix Synth (an in-progress project started by Paul Slocum in 2004) there have been a long creative series of installations and attempts (more or less fortunate), rethinking these output devices for different purposes and output. The last is Plink Jet, a robotic musical instrument made by Lesley Flanigan and Andrew Doro with four inkjet printers. These two students at the Tisch School of Arts in the New York University have transformed each of the printers in a guitar string, and the result is an unusual musical instrument that can be literally played by a user, can autonomously produce sounds as well and can finally work combining these two modes. The user can choose from several levels of manual control, all easily accessible, each corresponding to a different degree of man/machine interaction. The result of these collaborative performances is unpredictable, while the quality of the sounds produced, as always happens, depends on the sensitivity and expertise of the single user interacting with the machine.

Vito Campanelli