If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:11

Video transcript

- steven zucker and juliana chronic and we're talking about twittering machine by paul clay right submission machine a-- so this is one of my favorite works by clay and I think many people's it's perhaps for me one of the most fanciful one of the most playful works of art I can think of these little figures which to me they look like half bird-like creature half puppet half doll if in like you can't have three halves have these different faces or you can see details if you look really closely it each of them has a sense of individuality but they all seem a little bit um mystery mischief is the perfect word they seem mischievous and about to do something and you know it's funny because I look at the characters and then I'm thinking what's what's the twittering machine well he's exposed for us this wonderful kind of mechanical object it's drawn in the simplest pen-and-ink on a kind of watercolor wash really subtle and lovely but not too finished and still quite sort of open but there is this fabulous kind of invitation for the viewer to somehow reach in and to turn that handle and to bring this to life you know and I'm just thinking of and I'm thinking of this because clay is Swiss and I'm thinking of this because it's turning and then there's birds I'm thinking of a cuckoo clock oh I think you're absolutely right do you think he was maybe creating like sort of inner workings of the cuckoo clock deconstructed and sort of turned on its head I think so absolutely like the birds with a year but here they are freed because this is not about the mechanics of time it's not about the structure of time at all this is a kind of human powered machine we have to reach in to bring this thing to life and if it was brought to life you get a sense of the chaos of these birds which is completely at odds with the notion of the precision of the Swiss Swiss clock absolutely it doesn't have that kind of precision at all it's not that kind of machine its machine a frivolity look at the way he's done it because when you look at for instance the shapes that come out of each of the mouths or the beaks of these birds definitely would be quite quality they do um those are different shaped and they become almost visual science they become notations of the sounds that you can imagine that it would be making it would be a fracas it would be a kind of cacophony but each with a distinct kind of tone is so this second figure from right with this biro I feel like he would make sort of a bling-bling boy stuff no no string like so yeah yeah so you know some of the others were just are either rah rah what you know and you can sort of imagine all those things happening all at once is anyone starts I think that's right and you could also imagine sort of the chaos visually of how this would look if you turn the handle because each bird is perched on a on a wire that sort of arcs in space you can get the sense of them balancing up and down and sort of gyrating and and maybe that almost bowtie like double-o-double tri-gate around that'll spin exactly Nerissa so you turned it up and then the whole thing sort of spins around that axis so what clean has done and it's just incredible brilliant is it in a static frozen drawing he's been able to evoke sound and energy and motion and also an invitation for us to somehow power the entire image as a viewer so often really does it really calls for us to interact with it and it calls for us to play with it I mean it just it seems like it's just an invitation to have fun no that's so interesting because clay is at the Bauhaus for a year now and so often when we think of the Bauhaus we think of something that's slightly dour something a little serious I think it's very serious you know I mean I think that they certainly had a lot of fun but even their fun was so serious like we must make new things that we must have new parties and we must you know find new ways to make trouble and yet clay seems to be making trouble it'll just a simply and wonderfully playful way here you