The Unuseless Machine for Democracy

2014 | Kinetic Installation (Device)

The Unuseless Machine for Democracy was created in response to the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong:

We saw a partial image of the Tiananmen Square Incident on September 28, 2014. The spirit of democracy lives on as the quest for freedom extends to the streets of Hong Kong. Forever reminded of the agonizing loss of 1989, we will continue to uphold the torch of democracy in peace.

“The Most Useless Machine, Ever!” is a renowned project, which gave birth to a philosophically challenging theme in the DIY circle through its contradictory ON/OFF function. By subverting this paradox, “The Unuseless Machine for Democracy” celebrates and supports the relentless spirit of the road to democracy.

35 Unuseless Machines are assembled to form the number “928”. Each Machine has an LED candle that randomly burns out. Once the light goes out, a dove will surface to peck at the candle, lighting it up once again. This cycle goes on forever.

The project developed further and a stand-alone version of the Unuseless Machine was created for supporters of the Umbrella Movement to make at DIY workshops. All together 52 Unuseless Machines were created at workshops held in Hong Kong, Taipei and Japan, bringing the total number of machines to 87, which symbolizes the peaceful retaliation of the unarmed Hong Kong protesters against the 87 rounds of tear gas fired.


從九二八看到六四,看到民主薪火相傳。是人民的和平理性讓抗爭不用淌血,但我們毋忘當年的悲痛、今天的心碎,守護著我們的燭光。 DIY界盛名的「最無用機器」那開與關的矛盾引誘你進入一個令人煩厭進退兩難的困局並提出了具哲學性議題。本作品「死纏爛打民主機」,就是藉著顛覆這吊詭的思考,歌頌我們堅持不懈追求民主的精神!





「The Most Useless Machine, Ever!(史上最も役に立たないマシン)」は、D.I.Y環境で誰でも作れるオン/オフ機能のみを備えた装置であり、そこからときにチャレンジングで哲学的なテーマを生み出すことで知られる有名なプロジェクトです。ここにおける矛盾を転覆することによって、「民主主義のために無駄じゃないマシン」は、路上にあふれた揺るがない民主主義の精神を支援し、祝福します。

「928」シリーズが香港で展示されたのに続いて、「Unuseless Machine」の独立バージョンが雨傘運動のサポーターのために、D.I.Yワークショップで制作されました。52個の「Unuseless Machine」が香港、台北そして日本のワークショップで制作され、香港で展示した35個のマシーンに合わせて、今の87個に至りました。この数字は、87個の催涙ガスに抵抗したという非武装の香港プロテスターたちによる、平和的報復のシンボルでもあります。

翻訳: Arina Tsukada


The Unuseless Machine for Democracy (9.28 Series)

Eric Siu

Technical Support:
Alvaro Cassinelli

First Exhibition:
DIY Future New Media Arts Exhibition, New Vision Art Festival, Hong Kong.

The Unuseless Machines for Democracy (Stand-alone Version)

The Umbrella Movement supporters who made the Unuseless Machines.

Original Work by:
Eric Siu

Supported by:
FabCafe Taipei
FabCafe Tokyo
Lab by Dimension+ Hong Kong.
Lab by Dimension+ Taipei

Special Thanks:

Great Works Tokyo, Ben Chen@IF Plus, Mickey Choi, Alvin Cheung, Darry Dai, Akims Huang, Keith Lam, Daiki Kanaoka, Toshimasa Kawai, Joel Kwong, Sonoka Sagara, William Tang, Deborah Ten, Escher Tsai, Erin Tsuchiya, Annie Wang, Tim Wong and Friends.