Random Planet Production Machine 2013

Feeding on a constant paraffin drip from a melting candle, a regular sphere evolves at the center of a artist-designed two-axis Random Positioning Machine.

Perfect regularity and chaos are siblings, they even stem from each other. In a way, this is contradicting Thermodynamics' second law , which states that entropy, and therefore irregularity and the amount of chaos, are steadily and always increased within a given system.

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Giordano Bruno

Around the time of Galileo Galilei’s birth, Filippo Bruno of Nola entered the Dominican Order at the Monastery San Domenico in Naples, taking the name of his metaphysics teacher, and thus becoming Giordano Bruno, or Nolano, how he called himself. He set off on a philosophical journey which would eventually lead him to reason that the Universe was homogenous, thereby introducing happenstance as the governing mechanism which is ubiquitous in the works of God, and he concluded that the planets and the Earth were alike, as were the stars and the Sun. When he refused to revoke his views before the Inquisition, he was proclaimed a heretic and burned at the stake.

Bruno’s concept of equality between the Earth and the planets, and the Sun and the stars, and the homogeneity of the universe lets us conclude that every star is a host to a system of planets, the verity of which we have come to learn in recent years. Since science still has to come to entirely understand the distribution of the stars in the galaxies and the universe we assume that it is chaotic (within certain rules and systems), and therefore based on randomness. Therefore, we conclude that happenstance (randomness’ affirmative form) is the defining principle of the universe.

And yet we find it being populated by perfect spheres, as matter takes the simplest and most perfect form when aggregating to form a planet or a star. This paradox — the causal conjunction of the co-existence of the perfect form with randomness and happenstance as the governing principles is explored in this project.


We have designed a machine —a memorial to Giordano Bruno so to say— which implements the above principles, creating globes from candles, spheres from cylinders, using happenstance and randomness as the governing principles, aggregating the building blocks of a model showing the universe as imagined by Giordano Bruno.

This machine produces a series of globes representing ficticous planets — the model of a solar system according to Giordano Bruno so to say. Just as argued by Bruno, happenstance will be the governing mechanism in the process during which the planetary models take shape. However, the core of the installation of this project won't be the Large Armillary where the paraffin globes are suspended to form a planetary system, but the process of their formation, or aggregation rather.

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The globes are aggregated using candles that create a steady drip of paraffin falling down through a heated copper funnel into the center of a random positioning machine (RPM), where a spherical condensation core is mounted. The RPPM will rotate the condensation core in a random manner, so that all its points face upward to an equal amount of time, averaging the distribution of the dripping paraffin, and thus creating a spherical paraffin globe.

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The four-wicked candles will melt over the course of one day, and during the aggregation process the gradually changing color of the candles create the image of the formation of a planet. This process is documented using a photographic camera which is triggered each time the ring passes through the same position. Once a globe is finished and cooled, it is removed from the machine, and placed in the Planetarium.

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