Hammer vs. Nail Automata

Sometimes it seems like no matter what we do, none of our actual work accomplishes anything (yes, this even happens to Walyou writers). A mechanical art project captures the feeling perfectly.

Chris Eckert, an artist based in San Jose, Calif., has created an “art machine” that simply does the same thing over and over. He calls it “Rejected,” but it originally considered calling it “Remodeling with Sysiphus.” (For those of you who are a bit rusty on your Greek mythology, Sysisphus was a king sentenced to roll a boulder uphill only to have it repeatedly fall back down.)

The way this machine works is simple and ingenious. When the crank is turned, a nail pops up. Then the hammer crashes down, driving the nail into the board. The hammer lifts, and the nail pops up again, starting the cycle again.

Rejected sculpture

Gears close-up

Hammer close-up

The design is vaguely steampunkish, and it’s a brilliant commentary on the nature of work in our society.

If you like this design, you might also like Steampunk Horse Design and Time Machine Transports you to Another Era of Watchmaking.