The Donor by Paul Spooner


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The Donor by Paul Spooner
Recently unearthed, we have the last 2 pieces from an edition of 12 made in August 2012

15cm X 6.5cm X 18cm

The Donor 2012
I made the first Donor mainly because I’ve been trying out simple pneumatic mechanisms, sending puffs of air from a bellows through holes drilled in the woodwork to a diaphragm somewhere else on the piece. It’s a mechanism I’ve used several times already- to make birds rustle hungrily in their nest, mice vibrate fearfully in a cat’s dinner dish, and, in an as-yet unfinished piece, a woman and a devil have an argument in a theatre set in a cat’s bottom. It’s a good way of transmitting pulses of action to places which would be hard to reach by normal mechanical means.
I’d made the prototype before I thought of the title. When ‘The Donor’ presented itself to my mind I thought it was a piece worth making. I’m on the NHS list of potential donors for transplant surgery. Although I usually think of me as a husband, father, country craftsman, life and soul of parties and general all-round interesting dude, I must be something else to the Donor Database; a mobile shop of fresh spares ready and waiting for use in someone else’s upgrade. That title transformed the piece from a funny but grisly toy into something with reverberations of mind/body dualism and the ethical problems associated with definitions of life and death. In other words, a really solid joke.

The Big Donor, now in Marvin’s Marvellous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills, Michigan, was commissioned by the late, marvellous, Marvin. As well as being much bigger than the originals, it incorporated some additional features. As well as the pulsing of the organs, there is a popping out of the eyes and, under stretchy leather thong, a pneumatic device produces a subtle undulation. A powerful lamp ensures that the undulation isn’t too easy to miss. All these embellishments were at the request of the client.

A carved wooden figure lying on the table with their legs bent. They are painted red and their organs are exposed. A lamp looms over the table.

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