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You may have heard already, Chindogu is a class of tools invented by Kenji Kawa-

kami, a creative Tokyo commedian, author and general thinker and tinker. Dogu means
tool and chin means weird if not useless. Thus, a chindogu is a strangely useless (yet
almost useful) tool. In his systematic chindogu philosophy, Kawakami has put down 10
rules which a true chindogu must meet and which Kawakami enforces rigorously!

Here I proudly present ATAC1, the novel art-teaching chindogu

Dear Kenji Kawakami-sensei!
No, ATAC1 is certainly not for make laugh. Rather, it is the 'art-teaching automaton
class 1', the first Chindogu set to conquer the fields of pedagogics and creative aesthe-
tics. Since the latter (aesthetics) is what offsets mankind from the beasts surrounding us,
ATAC1 is deeply committed to humanitarian values.
Originating from wood and scrap electronics, ATAC1 happily links nature with pure,
raw technology. Its basic condition, therefore, is the hopeful double-A-double-You state
(AAW: almost always working or, as they sometimes say, always almost working, as
the case may be). Anyway, the fact that it does not work all the time puts it in one class
with humans and emphasizes the radical subjectivism so desirable in advanced Kawa-
kami philosophy.
The automaton is guaranteed to light up when you approach it. This is of dramatic ad-
vantage if the inventor, as so often, is in the dark. Furthermore, ATAC1, miraculously
knowing what you do not do, blinks its tail lamp faster if you do not approach it. Thus,
by simply looking at it, you can tell whether you are approaching it or not. Note, how-
ever, that movement is relative. Therefore, you may be inclined to convince yourself
that you can tell from the lights whether the automaton is approaching you or not. Alter-
natively, you may prefer to think that the automaton thinks it can tell whether you are
approaching it or not, as the case may be.
The circuit diagram, describing most details of design and creative work-around the dif-
ficulties, was meant to be made publicly available but unfortunately was lost in a
clear-up operation of the laboratory-kitchen facilities. Rumors will have it that the sheet,
already stained by green tea, soy sauce and other liquids of uncertain origin, was de-
voured by the automaton. One can only speculate that the wish to incorporate vitamins
and hormones like a human was driving this unusual ingestion, evidence of a superior
intelligence. Alternatively, the will to remain unique may have caused ATAC1 to ob-
scure its origins. It thus demonstrated the spirit of anarchy, giving rise to a multitude of
creational and evolutionary theories.
04.07.04 copyright invoco-verlag 2004
Here is some hope, though: by backward-engineering it was made likely that the blink-
ing of the tail lamp probably works by positive feedback a valuable clue for those who
feel inclined to tool up (dogu!) for an ATAC2 as time goes by.
Space was left inside of ATAC1 for the newest art-teaching module, which may be in-
stalled next week.
Meanwhile, ATAC1 took its lonely stance on the book shelf, from where it glared down
skeptically while the following photo was taken.

Once the art-teaching module has been installed, a movie will be made to document the
teaching activity. Meanwhile, dear Kenji Kawakami-sensei, I hope you will send the
certificate rather soon, stating that ATAC1 is a genuine Chindogu and is certainly not
patentable, as this is the only guarantee that it will not sell on the market.

Sincerely, BL (inventor)

04.07.04 copyright invoco-verlag 2004