Gijs van Bon's Skryf machine "writes poems on the ground with sand"

Dezeen and MINI World Tour: in this movie filmed at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, artist Gijs van Bon shows us his machine called Skryf, which prints a trail of sand behind it to form letters on the ground. 

Skryf sand writer by Gijs van Bon
Skryf sand writer by Gijs van Bon

Skryf consists of an adapted CNC milling machine on wheels, which van Bon controls with a laptop via a simple piece of software he developed.

"I can just type in text and it converts it to a code that the machine accepts," he explains. "It writes letter by letter and in the four hours that I write per day it will write about 160 metres."

Skryf sand writer by Gijs van Bon

Van Bon travels to different festivals around the world with Skryf and chooses new pieces of literature to write on the ground in each place.

"I've been with Skryf throughout Europe and once to Australia," he explains. "In Eindhoven, I'm writing the poems of Merel Morre. She is the city poet of Eindhoven; she reflects on what is happening now in the city."

Skryf sand writer by Gijs van Bon

Skryf's carefully-written lines of poetry are destroyed by passersby or the wind almost as quickly as it can write them. Van Bon says that the whole idea behind the project is that the lines of poetry exist only momentarily.

"When you're writing one [line of] text, another one is going away because people start walking through it," he explains. "Once I've finished writing, I walk the same way back but it's all destroyed. It's ephemeral, it's just for this moment and afterwards it's left to the public and to the wind."

Gijs van Bon
Gijs van Bon. Copyright: Dezeen

We drove around Eindhoven in our MINI Cooper S Paceman. The music in the movie is a track called Family Music by Eindhoven-based hip hop producer Y'Skid.

You can listen to more music by Y'Skid on Dezeen Music Project and watch more of our Dezeen and MINI World Tour movies here.

Dezeen's MINI Paceman at Strijp-S, Eindhoven
Our MINI Paceman in Eindhoven