The Engine of Laputa

Christian Bök

‘The Engine of Laputa’ by Christian Bök constitutes a handwritten replication of a tablet, illustrated by Lemuel Gulliver in his second edition of Book 3 from ‘Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World’ (1726). Gulliver visits the domain of Laputa, where an inventor shows him a mechanism made from a large array of dice, each of their facets inscribed with mysterious hieroglyphs — each cube mounted on gimbals that swivel, so that, by turning a crank, a writer might generate literature automatically through an aleatoric operation. Bök has carefully recrafted each of the 256 little, exotic glyphs that appear on the tabletop of this machine, using calligraphy in a digital context to remaster each symbol in his own hand. The work constitutes a ‘showcard’ for his sculpture, entitled ‘Bibliomechanics’ — a ‘writing-machine,’ built of out 27 Rubik’s cubes, exhibited for the artshow POÈME SBJKT at Librairie Métamorphoses in Paris (25 May – 15 Jul 2023).

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