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The Difference Engine (2017)

In Collaboration with Renee Rhodes

This video takes 19th century British engineer Charles Babbage’s machine of the 1830s as its starting point. This machine is regarded by many as the world’s first computer and although it was developed and designed by Babbage it was never built in his lifetime, remaining a “virtual” machine.
Finally constructed in the 21st century according to Babbage’s schematic drawings and calculations, this video represents the machine through a series of performative movements that Rhodes developed in response to watching the constructed machine in action.
This machine is also closely associated with mathematician Ada Lovelace, which prompted me to draw connections between the virtual nature of Babbage’s original machine and the limited presence of women in the fields of science and technology.