Artem Case Studies

'Machine of Wonder' for Turner Prize Celebrations Glasgow Life/Tramway Museum

With a limited budget and only the briefest of briefs, Glasgow Life/Tramway Museum asked Artem to build a 'Machine of Wonder' - a colourful, exciting, oversized machine that would be on public display throughout the time that the Turner Prize celebrations were being held in Glasgow, October 2015 – January 2016. 

This is the first time the Turner Prize has been based outside of London and our client wanted to mark this by creating a Willy Wonka-type contraption with which the public could engage and interact in a fun and inspirational way.

Sketched out from scratch by Senior SFX Supervisor, Mike Kelt, our large, whacky machine was brought to life in Artem’s workshops, incorporating lights, inflatables, sound effects and a clever mechanism for accepting and dispensing cards.  The idea was that members of the public, inspired by what they had seen of the Turner Prize nominees, would draw or write something original on a blank card and insert it into the machine, at which point it would chunter, whizz, light up, and 'ding!' - and out pops another card with prize details or a piece of original art from another member of the public. 

This effective, deceptively-simple, eye-catching design and idea captured the public’s imagination readily.  The machine made three outings in public, the first at Glasgow’s Merchant Square, the second at Central Station to cheer Christmas commuters and finally at a big Glasgow shopping mall, the St Enoch Centre, in the thick of the January sales.  It was queued out on each occasion with people creating original artworks, some of which were remarkably sophisticated and talented, popping them into the machine and seeing what came out.  In between outings, the machine lived at the Tramway Museum, where the Turner Prize nominated artworks were on exhibition. 

Unexpectedly, towards the end of the project, staff from an art shop in Glasgow, CASS Art, spotted our Machine of Wonder and, loving the concept, asked if they could give it a home for a few weeks in their art space, where art classes are held, to give inspiration to those taking art classes and to be used as a fun way to connect with their customers. 

Thus, the life of our machine was extended longer than anticipated and, retiring from the public eye soon, it has fulfilled its brief and truly has been a 'Machine of Wonder' for the Turner Prize celebrations 2015/6.

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