Hypothetical machines are machines, which demonstrate the importance of play and the experimental in capturing reality. The Perpetuum Mobile is the most well-known hypothetical machine – a device that maintains motion without an additional energy supply and does work, in the scientific sense, in violation of the laws of physics.
Karl Heinz Jeron’s machines also highlight and address thought-experiments and speculative considerations. Jeron’s animal-like robots, built from wooden toys, recite comments from social network platforms, hinting at the role of the comment-function on Twitter, Facebook, Google & Co. in identity construction. His machines are outfitted with an “activity tracker”, as well – an electronical device that generates data from the machine’s motions, displaying calorie consumption.
Nothing is real – everything is possible? The enormous pool of data and the all- and ever-pervasive images of digital pop-culture lead to a virtualization of identity, attributing a higher degree of existence to the comments of social network platforms than that afforded to the true self. Jeron’s work grapples with the effect of this “as-if” form of authenticity on the possibility of identity construction. The more active we are on the internet, the more opportunities we create for internet companies to calculate and predict our preferences and their corresponding behaviors. In effect, this algorithmic personalization reduces the human being to one singular identity. Whoever claims that human beings have only one identity denies the various layers that comprise the human.