Manufacturer of Hydraulic Presses

The Versatile, Artistic Hydraulic Press

February 2, 2015

Industrial uses for hydraulic presses involve forging, molding, punching, metal fabricating, blanking and clinching. In the midst of all this trade jargon, a machinist can lose sight of the real beauty of this machine.

What is the essence of a hydraulic press? It will squash anything.

Sometimes it takes an artist to truly see the soul of a machine. Such is Dmitry Morozov, a Russian media artist, who goes by the name ::vtol::. In Moscow at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, he put a hydraulic press through its paces.

He invited visitors to watch their possessions, contributed voluntarily, crushed by a 10-ton press. At five separate setups, a press and microphone were connected to an Apple mini, micro-controller board and a CD drive. One at a time, viewers were invited to add objects for mashing. Computers, headphones, cellphones and toys were popular choices.

You can watch the process here:

To let them share the artistic happening with friends at a later time, contributors got to take home a CD recording of their very own mangling. The sound of the crushing was recorded and then electronically processed through an algorithm. The result is 20 minutes of enhanced crushing sounds for future edification.

Clearly industry and art often perceive events differently. A machinist might see this as a display of hydraulic strength and technology. The artist, in this case ::vtol::, sees a mystical, magical expression of “deprivation, divestment and destruction,” a chance for visitors to trade lowly consumerism for higher artistic pursuits.