Egor Kraft – I Print, Therefore I Am

Egor Kraft

I Print, Therefore I Am

Video documentation, ki­netic sculp­ture, mod­i­fied printer, pa­per roll, 5l can of inks


‘…Mov­able type was ar­che­type and pro­to­type for all sub­se­quent in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment. With­out pho­netic lit­er­acy and the print­ing press, mod­ern in­dus­tri­al­ism would be im­pos­si­ble…’ (Mar­shall McLuhan, in­ter­view, 1969).

A dig­i­tal printer had been mod­i­fied so that it can con­tin­u­ously per­form print­ing on a looped-back sheet of pa­per, run­ning through cy­cles over and over again. An ink sup­ply sys­tem – con­tain­ing a 5 litre can of ink con­nected to the car­tridge is then con­nected to the hacked printer, it is thus able to print non-stop through­out the du­ra­tion of the whole ex­hi­bi­tion, about 2 months, re­lent­lessly re­pro­duc­ing the same line ‘I print, there­fore I am’ (rephrased from ‘I think, there­fore I am’- René Descartes, Dis­cours de la Meth­ode, 1637).

Through con­tin­u­ous repet­i­tive ac­tiv­ity the printer man­i­fests its own ex­is­tence, func­tion­ing in ac­cor­dance with the prin­ci­ples of me­chan­i­cal, in­dus­trial and con­sumer cul­ture, formed dur­ing the 20th cen­tury and now be­com­ing some­what ob­so­lete. This work also ref­er­ences that the ori­gin of these prin­ci­ples evolved from the in­ven­tion of print­ing tech­nol­ogy, which re­mains the tem­plate for all sub­se­quent mech­a­ni­sa­tion.

It is ob­vi­ous that the “Ty­po­graphic trance” is be­com­ing ob­so­lete and is re­placed by more so­phis­ti­cated me­dia tech­nolo­gies which pro­vide us with more op­por­tu­ni­ties for proac­tive re­ac­tion. In this con­text spec­ta­tor is pro­posed to think of the printer, as the world’s last work­ing printer, still print­ing, re­lent­lessly and point­lessly, with­out be­ing aware of the fact that new logic has come into force.