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The Steam Powered Internet Machine

By Rhizome

The Steam Powered Internet Machine, by Turner-prizewinning artist Jeremy Deller and his collaborator Alan Kane, links a steam engine to a computer, allowing visitors to surf the net, powered by one of the driving forces of the Industrial Age.

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"We were thinking about something that connects the industrial revolution and the digital revolution," said Deller.

Although impractical, the machine does work. "We like inverting economics," added Kane. "This is a very uneconomic way of having a portable computer."

The artists explained that the current era - when it is possible to have travelled by steam train as a child and be surfing the internet now - calls to mind JMW Turner's The Fighting Temeraire, which marks the moment when the sailing ships gave way to steam. "We're at a certain point in British history, at the end of something," said Deller.

The Steam Powered Internet Machine can be seen at the Kent County Show, Detling, July 14-16 and the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother Hospital Summer Fete, Margate, August 5.

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