The mythology of Sisyphus is commonly known: Gods imposed a punishment on Sisyphus that condemned him to an eternity of perpetual effort and never ending frustration. He was to roll a stone to the top of a hill, from which it would always roll back down. The severity of the punishment lied in the interminable pointlessness of the task.
The machine Sisyphean draws from one of Da Vinci’s mechanical inventions. The work is simple in its construction so that its mechanical operation can be understood at first glance. The machine is meant to demonstrate endless labour. It shows neither a beginning nor an end but only a process with constant input of ‘travail’ and disappearing ‘art’.
As Billy Klüver said, art is absurd by nature and I continue this absurdity even though it sometimes brings me a sheer emptiness. Why? At this point, I think of Sisyphus. I feel empathy with him, particularly whenever my work is accompanied by physical effort.