ANIMAL BODY MACHINE – My head is a desktop

The great thing about the Leckey exhibition is that it keeps throwing up ideas. I’d become interested in the Long Tail idea – 80% of internet users access the same 20% of content but the remaining 80% of content snakes its way through all out lives in various ways. For my last but one gallery intervention I’d asked people to wrote down  what they used phones, television, computers, the internet, books, paper, a pen and the letter A for and also how the felt about these things. I was hoping to find some kind of 80/20 revelation about the way in which we communicate and receive information. I didn’t. But I did get into some very interesting conversations about the exhibition with some of the visitors!

For my final afternoon of gallery interventions I knew that I wanted to do something that would somehow pull all four sessions together and enable me to write something, so I decided to ask visitors to take part in a word association. I started off with the words Leckey uses to categorise the exhibits ANIMAL BODY MACHINE and then, a bit like Chinese Whispers, the next visitor would write a word association to the word the previous person left. No-one saw the whole list and pretty soon it became impossible to tell which category was which. What I was after was trying to recreate the way in which Leckey’s online searches led from object to object by using people’s associative responses instead of the internet.

So this is what it looked like



and this is what I wrote, italicised words are taken straight from the lists:

ANIMAL BODY MACHINE – My head is a desktop

It rained that day.

White pavilion domes on grey skies.

Hunched people, scarves lying parallel to the plain of the horizon in the rain shiny wind.


Inside is quiet.


Except for…

The sound of the dumb things,

The placing of feet,

The murmur of voices.

Sometimes a solo shriek then sshhhh………

A machine’s heartbeat



Click to click to click, click, click.

Pursued, followed, found.

One thing led to another thing.

Snaking round, gathering in

to here.


“I don’t understand it to be honest”

“I think it’s wonderful”


ANIMAL          BODY               MACHINE


Desktop folders. My head is a desktop, sort of. So must yours be. Follow the links and Animal goes to Outfit, Body goes to Wealth and Machine goes to People.

Imagine that!



You, me, them, they

Dumb wonder


The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things


Conform: strict, careful placing


Treasure chocolate angels fake high-life stripes


Treacle parachute flags yellow beach


Car gears ROAR



Tart gems

Tasty fruit nails



Dog meat corpse

Bodies mouth hate noise

Furry vision


ANIMAL          BODY          MACHINE

Lion              Mouth              Robot

Roar              Speech              Movement

Lion              Dumb              Ballet

Cat              Mindless       Strength

Furry              Choke              Wonder

Pipe              Careful              Amazing

Cleaner              Placing              Gears

Liquid              Table                      Machine

Fairy              Tangible              Fruit

Liquidity       Segment              Compote

Sea              Arc                     Vegetable

Beach              Rainbow              Carrot

Swimming       Colours              Jasper

Costume              Yellow                      Person

Outfit              Banana                      People

ANIMAL              BODY                     MACHINE

Giraffe              Clock                      Legs

Spot              Sand                          Nails

Conform              Beach                     Hate

Obey              Sea                     Love

Strict                Fish                     You

School              Chips                     Me

Children       Fish                     You

Sweets              Fear                     Them

Calories       Parachute              They

Dietary              Bungee                     Happen

Fat              Elastic              Find

Treacle              Plastic              Treasure

Tart              Fake                     Pirate

Cake              Gems                     Skull

Tasty              Wealth                     Floral

ANIMAL              BODY                     MACHINE

Dog              Fingers              Car

Meat              Chocolate              Trip

Bread              Mousse                     Vision

Bodies              Chocolate              Express

Corpse              Brownies              Paper

Life              Sister                     Tiger

Death              Family                     Stripes

Angels              Children              Flags

High              Noise                     Travel

Life              Sound                     Car

Death              Vision                     Exhaust

Time              Inspire              Fumes

Short              Help                      Cars



And on a sweeter note:


You inspire


Copyright Christine Harmar-Brown October 2013

With thanks to the De La Warr Pavilion gallery visitors to the Mark Leckey exhibition The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things on Saturday October 19 2013