School of Various Writings
Falmouth University, April/May 2018



Writing Machines


An examination of the act of writing, by stage two BA(Hons) Graphic Design students at Falmouth University, culminating in a series of biological, mechanical and digital writing machines.


We ask questions: How do we ‘write’ in the first place, and why? What are the tools and surfaces that we find ourselves using in 2018? What have we used historically? How do we define the media that we write with, and how does that media, in turn, define us? What exactly is a machine? And what is an apparatus? And a tool? What’s a process? And what’s a system? What does it mean to be mechanical, to mechanize, to automate? How might machines function? Who controls the machine and who drives it? (Is there a difference?) How do machines emulate humans and how might humans emulate machines (and why would they bother)? What is it to write? (and by extension, what is it to read, to speak and to listen?) What’s the difference between writing and drawing? Is writing still writing if it’s only the creator who understands it? What is the work: the machine or the text that it creates? What text would a machine choose to write? Who understands it? Who is it for? How might we experience that piece of writing? What is the future of writing?     

Writings Machines was a four-week project run by Lizzie Ridout and Dion Star as part of the BA(Hons) Graphic Design stage two Collaborative Practice module. The aim of the module is to deliver ‘unfamiliar’ learning activities for students and to present live projects, collaborations and workshops providing provocative interventions into creative thinking. After encountering research about the act of writing via a series of workshops, study visits and talks led by experts in various linking fields, students were asked to:

1. Create a writing machine.
2. Write a short text about that machine.
3. (attempt to) Create the text using said machine.


Our thanks to the following for their support and input into the project:

Jerome Fletcher (School of Writing & Journalism, Falmouth University), Rob Saunders (Metamakers Institute), Alcwyn Parker (Games Academy, Falmouth University), Henrietta Boex (Falmouth Art Gallery) and The Telegraph Museum, Porthcurno.

With thanks to our students:

Alex Bassett, Sam Cornwall, Matheo Delannoy, Jeanne Decronumbourg, Paige Gibson, Thomas Heath, Andrew Horner, Julia Lissel, Reuben Morley, Anastasija Panasenko, Dominic Rogers, Beth Rush, Isabella Stoll, Judith Sievers, Emily Sorrell, Tom Shepherd-Barron, Ilona Sokolovskaja, Dylan Young, Wiktor Zawodniak.








© Various Writings. 2018