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Tennessee's Baby Drum 'N' Pulse Machine


Contrary to this sculpture’s minimal, neutral appearance, it conceals an underlying malevolence. Once the counter reaches zero, the sculpture is “dead,” whatever that means.

Installed at the Coop Gallery in Nashville, Pulse Machine is an abstract representation of artists Alicia Eggert and Alexander Rebens’ “newborn child.” Since the average human lifespan of a Tennessee newborn is 78.02 years, so is the programmed lifespan of their electromechanical sculpture.

From the moment of birth, with an average heart rate of 60bpm, this kick drum is 2,460,438,720 beats away from death. Each coupled hit on the drum counts as one beat, representing a heart’s systole and diastole. These pulses sounded by the drum are made using a solenoid which pulls down the pedal. While the average amount of heartbeats closely relates all people, this piece is a creepy predetermining factor for any babies born on the same day as this stoic countdown clock.

Mechanical counter showing remaining heart beats.


The sculpture’s kick drum “heart.”