Random International's Temporary Printing Machine

Temporary Printing Machine a hit at Design Miami

London design team combine screen printing with digital technology to produce a portrait machine fit for a gallery

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Art Basel Miami Beach would be the place to head for innovative portraiture this week. However, The Carpenters Workshop Gallery booth at Design Miami - the satellite design fair - gave visitors the chance to try and perhaps buy a self portrait machine just as beguiling and thought provoking as the works on ABMB's walls.

 London's Random International design collective made their Temporary Printing Machine in 2011. The group are best known in Britain for their Rain Room - currently installed in The Barbican's Curve Gallery - a computer controlled rain shower, which allows visitors to walk through the storm without getting drenched. 




The Temporary Printing Machine, though not as immersive as the Rain Room, is equally interactive. It consists of a black frame, a light sensitive canvas, a motorized screen-printing squeegee, a camera and a computer. Subjects approach the frame, wait and, the squeegee tracks across the canvas, 'printing' a temporary portrait.

 "It's really between the idea of a mirror - you cannot keep this image - and a painting," gallerist Julien Lombrail explained to artinfo.com. Whether it deserves to be hung alongside a Warhol screen print is unclear, yet Random International certainly occupies interesting territory between fine art and uncanny design innovation. Watch more on the machine at work on this video, below, and for more on technology's impact on design, consider our New Technologies book, featuring 333 design classics from the mid-1960s to the twenty-first century.