A Sense of Place

Lineage Machine

A machine for the haptic replay of a drawing

Project Leaders:

Klaus Engel – machine designer
Isabella Stefanescu – visual artist

Research and development of a Lineage Machine prototype.

The cultural antecedents of the Lineage Machine are the methods used for teaching calligraphy in China and Japan. The teacher takes hold of the student's hand and traces a set pattern. The student will sense the order of the strokes, as well as the changes in pressure and speed and the pauses and hesitations involved in creating a piece. The teacher has been taught by the hand of her teacher, and he - by the hand of his teacher. This direct kinetic transmission of knowledge goes back several hundred years—each calligraphic pattern can be traced through its lineage.

The Lineage Machine is composed of two parts: a device for “recording” or digitizing the movement of the drawing performer; and a haptic device for “playing back” or reproducing the drawing performance, that gently, but firmly, guides the arm and hand of the student/user/viewer through the movements used in the creation of a particular drawing.