Machine Project

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Machine Project
Machine Project.jpg
Film screening at Machine Project on Alvarado Blvd. in Echo Park, Los Angeles.
Established 2004
Location 1200 D North Alvarado Street Los Angeles, California United States
Director Mark Allen

Machine Project is a Los Angeles based not-for-profit arts organization and community event space. Machine Project's mission is to produce cultural programming that inspires audiences to become creatively active by imagining, participating and relating in new ways to the arts and sciences - utilizing a range of techniques, such as informality, humor, and surprise, in order to make new, exciting and complex ideas accessible. Machine Project offers workshops, exhibitions, performances, and talks at a storefront gallery in the Echo Park neighborhood, near the major intersection of Alvarado Street and Sunset Boulevard. It is also a gathering place for a loose alliance of artists who produce collaborative work in various locations around Los Angeles, including the Santa Monica beach and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Machine Project was founded by Mark Allen in 2004 and incorporated as a non-profit in 2005.[1]


Machine Project events emphasize intersections between fields and practices, particularly where the arts and sciences meet. In a 2006 LA Weekly article, writer Gendy Alimurung described Machine Project as, "Nikola Tesla by way of P.T. Barnum, with a dash of 'The Anarchist Cookbook.' "[2] Machine Project facilitates conversations between poets, technicians, artists, scientists, and obscure hobbyists and supports work that arises out of unusual combinations of interests. Past activities have included urban plant foraging and needlepoint therapy based on classic oil paintings. Machine Project prioritizes accessibility, explicitly courting amateur practitioners and curious locals. Workshops are regularly offered in sewing electronics, soldering, Arduino and Processing for artists.

In 2003, founder Mark Allen saw a need for a place rooted in a community where artists and residents could share ideas, knowledge, and enthusiasm. Machine encourages artists and community members to collaborate on the creation of innovative artworks and projects outside of established commercial, academic, and cultural institutions. In addition to weekly events held in the storefront gallery space in Echo Park, Machine Project operates as a gathering place for local and visiting artists to produce shows at various cultural institutions and events in Los Angeles. Frequent collaborators include Brody Condon, monochrom and Johannes Grenzfurthner, Liz Glynn, Kamau Patton, Corey Fogel, Jason Torchinsky, Chris Kallmyer, and Adam Overton. Machine Project has curated performances at the Glow Festival at Santa Monica Pier and at several art museums. Through their Artist in Residence program, Machine Project invites previous collaborators to develop larger projects that generally include a pedagogical element in addition to performances and exhibitions.

Over the years, Machine Project has moved toward larger collaborations. holding residences with major art museums, including a one-day takeover of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on November 15, 2008 and a several month residency at the Hammer Museum in 2010. The Machine Project Field Guide to LACMA, which included over 50 individual events around the museum, has been described in the press as "epic," "Like Disneyland,"[3] and as having "the distinct feel of a summer camp."[4] At the museums, Machine Project explores alternate, less formal ways of using the space and encourage more playful engagement with the collections. Machine Project has also curated events and exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, where they raffled off a musical trip to the dentist with folk singer Emily Lacy, and the Pomona College Museum of Art, where they installed a floral chocolate volcano by artist Holly Vesecky.[5]

Machine Project developed out of founder Mark Allen's collaborative art practice and work with C-level (now Betalevel) in the Chinatown district of downtown Los Angeles. Machine Project has received grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Annenberg Foundation, among others.[6]


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