There is something satisfying about the ruckus caused by an old fashioned typewriter. The sound feels like progress and the act of writing is as close to dancing as it gets when the carriage return at the end of every line starts to sound like music. I am very happy that we have computers and programs like Word, but I enjoy the process of typing a lot less on a keyboard than I do on a typewriter. I’m not so sure we would be so impressed with Jack Torrance’s frenzied yet empty writing of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” if he had simply copied and pasted across a screen. And it is difficult to imagine William S. Burroughs’ 1959 novel Naked Lunch if laptops and circuitry had replaced the skeletal mechanics of his Underwood.
Of course, neither of those associations with the typewriter probably leave you with a particularly good taste in your mouth for the machine, but what they do convey is how much of an actor a machine can be in a drama. I love 3D printing, but I doubt that MacGyver would have been so interesting to watch if he’d been keying in code and waiting for a completed print. Kinetic sculptor and 3D print artist David Kim was drawn to create his latest piece in response to the allure of the old fashioned machine.
Kim is the President and CEO of a company called 3DPrintingDog which he founded in 2014 in partnership with his rescue dog Miracle. Together he and Miracle have released a series of sculptures with moving parts for their Shapeways store.
In an interview with 3DPrint.com, he explained his attraction to this particular project:
“For me, there is something special about the manual typewriter that is missing in today’s keyboard-less world of tablets and smartphones. Although the technology has improved, it is also, sadly, more sterile. Tapping one’s finger on glass to generate digital pixels on a screen is not the same experience as pushing down on physical buttons and having your innermost thoughts immediately appear on paper. There was something inspiring about clicking away on an old keyboard that allowed the creativity to flow.”
In an expression of that nostalgic yearning, Kim has turned to his trusty old 3D printer to produce the Deconstructed Typewriter. Clearly, technology is here to stay and there are interactions in the world that require things that cannot be provided by a typewriter (such as the internet!). Typewriters are big and heavy and not everybody has the space to have one around for the pleasure of it. However, you can still get a bit of that old jazz back by typing away on the three keys of this deconstructed version. Besides, there’s the intellectual interest created by using cutting edge technology to produce old technology.
The piece is designed to be printed in a single piece as are Kim’s other sculptures – no assembly required. Printed in white plastic, it has three keys and although it does not actually type, it does provide at least some of that meditative movement that used to come from typing.
I wonder though. The keyboard has only three keys, exactly the number that Miracle would need to type out the message which may be most present in his mind: “bow wow,” or “arf,” or “woof.”
I think not. He’s probably hard at work on the next great American novel, written entirely in canine.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this creation in the 3D Printed Deconstructed Typewriter forum.