Semi automatic machine self-portraits: Trumpf Trumatic edition

Ellis, Nicola
Nicola Ellis’ work is shaped by relationships between people, materials and processes. She explores complex ecosystems and environments to understand how their internal workings interact to function as a whole. Heavy industry has declined in the North of England, and our understanding of areas of the country with a strong industrial heritage is often distorted through political discourse and ideology. Semi-automatic machine self-portraits: Trumpf Trumatic edition, 2018, was made during her residency at Ritherdon & Co Ltd., a family-owned manufacturer of steel enclosures based in Darwen, Lancashire. The Trumpf Trumatic is the first machine in the manufacturing line. It punches out flat shapes from sheet steel, which then go on to be bent, welded, dressed, and powder coated to make Ritherdon’s products. Ellis’ work disrupted the usual programming process of the Trumpf Trumatic, which resulted in the machine punching out images of itself. The process started with photographs of a section of the large machine, which was then simplified for Radan sheet metal software to understand. It then instructed the Trumpf machine to punch out the simplified image and the resulting metal ‘positive’ was powder coated in blue to match the machine itself.
  • Artwork Details: 110 x 196 x 0.3cm
  • Edition: 1 of 3
  • Material description: Mild steel and powder coating
  • Credit line: © the artist. Image courtesy of the artist
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  • Accession number: ACC21/2021



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