Auto Ink, by Chris Eckert


I don’t know if you’re one of those people who like to think about all of the different things tattoos mean to people, but if you are you might find this new art piece by Chris Eckert kind of interesting. Once again, the tattoo has taken on some metaphorical meaning within something extremely powerful, and has been used to put forward a message to the masses.

In this piece, titled “Auto Ink”, Eckert has put together an automated machine, which he claims can tattoo someone with a religious symbol. The catch? You’ll never know which symbol you’re going to get. The whole thing is random, and is supposed to symbolise his belief that those of a faith are born into a religion, rather than find what they believe the most in themselves.

From Needles and Sins I saw this great quote from Eckert:

[…] This public face of religion is always so certain, self-confident, even arrogant. That anyone could possibly know the ‘truth’ when that truth is randomly assigned at birth is just funny.

Auto Ink is a three axis numerically controlled sculpture. Once the main switch is triggered, the operator is assigned a religion and its corresponding symbol is tattooed onto the persons arm. The operator does not have control over the assigned symbol. It is assigned either randomly or through divine intervention, depending on your personal beliefs.

Pictures of the piece have been floating around the internet for perhaps a day or so (I actually originally found it on one of my favourite nerd sites, Gizmodo) and it seems that people are slightly confused by the whole thing. It looks like some people have been hearing the Chinese whispers version, which states that this is a new machine built to tattoo. I don’t think that’s even possible, how could a machine really tattoo someone properly? There are a whole range of skills required in tattooing that a machine could never do. How could it know when to stop, stretch the skin properly or determine how to work with people of differing skin types?

Chill- this is just a piece of art. And a brilliant piece, at that!

As someone who doesn’t specifically follow a religion, I haven’t seen this popping up on any of their websites so far, but if you’ve seen the responses towards the piece on their side, feel free to send them in! Also, what about your own response? How do you feel about something like this? Comments are always appreciated!

2 Responses to “Auto Ink, by Chris Eckert”
  1. Yikes! The term “tattoo roulette” comes to mind. But like you say, we definitely appreciate the concept as a piece of art in itself.

    • Mel Noir says:

      Haha, tattoo roulette sounds like a laugh, doesn’t it? Maybe not! It’s nice to see other people appreciating the piece itself though, thanks for the comment! :)

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