The Replication Machine was a collaborative effort presented at the University of Iowa Studio Arts Building during the fall of 2009. Participants constructed The Replication Machine in a gallery space. We used items such as reclaimed material, cardboard, paper, and craft supplies to create replications of objects brought to the machine. Extra attention was paid to the information and processes that needed to be followed in order to have an object reproduced. This took the form of invoices, a service bell, customer service uniforms, comment/suggestion box, specific drop boxes, and a shift log for The Replication Machine workers, or “parts,” as we called ourselves.
Handmade signs were posted around the building asking people to bring items that they would like to have replicated. Once a person arrived with their object, we asked them to fill out a simple invoice. They also had the option of calling The Replication Machine directly or sending us an email to check on the progress of their reproduction. Depending on the size of the object the participant presented, they were instructed to return in 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, or 24 hours to pick up their original and replicated items.
The Replication Machine was open 6 days a week for 6 hours a day, with a 24 hour drop box. When the participants arrived at The Replication Machine with their half of the invoice stub in hand, they would receive their original object, plus a reproduction of that item made only out of the materials already in the machine room. We reproduced 56 items that week. The Replication Machine drew much interest and was a considerable success. We developed multiple philosophies on the duties of The Replication Machine, which led to interesting discussions on the nature of reproduction and simulacra.
Thank you everyone who helped The Replication Machine become a reality.