Repeater is a custom software that creates a feedback loop between a pen plotter and a pen digitizer. The process starts with the pen plotter tracing the description text. In parallel the software records and draws the text on the screen as captured by the pen digitizer. At the end of each iteration the recorded motion is fed back to the pen plotter and this two part process repeats over and over again. Due to loss of information between the two devices, the drawn text is distorted and simplified at every loop, until it becomes illegible and completely loses its meaning.

Repeater looks at the limits of automation with the two machines working together to amplify their own imperfections. The degradation of the text is a result of the information repeatedly moving between the digital and the physical domain. The resolution of the pen digitizer, the mechanical limitations of the pen plotter, and the operating speed of the computer all contribute to the mutation of the drawn text.

The installation is inspired by the artwork “I am sitting in a room” by Alvin Lucier, the American experimental music composer. Lucier recorded his voice, played it back, and re-recorded it repeatedly until the recording of his speech became indistinguishable.

The software is written in C++ using OpenFrameworks in combination with a python script that controls the plotter. The application runs on a single board computer RaspberryPi.