Normally we think of machines as masters of efficiency, accomplishing the mission at hand as quickly as possible. This notion is turned upside down (and then rolled down a ramp, shot into the air, and so on..) with Rube Goldberg machines -- machines which make absurd, laborious and complex processes to complete a simple task.
Brooklyn artist Joseph Herscher is a mastermind at this art of useless machines. His first attempt was 'Creme That Egg,' a 2:35 booby trap complete with 30 glue sticks and 480 pins that results in a hammer smashing a Cadbury Creme Egg. Strings, balls, cups and toilet paper rolls all take part in this dominoed symphony of uselessness.
With twists, turns and hijinks that put 'Home Alone' to shame, Herscher and his beautiful machines explore an alternate kind of science, where the amateur prevails over the expert. However, after the video blew up on YouTube, the artist was evicted from his apartment, where the walls were covered with tiny pinholes.
Herscher's newest project is a eco-friendly contraption that will turn off the lights behind him when he leaves a room. It is part of his collection of Ecomachines, machines which aim to save energy in humorously wasteful ways. Of the machine he told the New York Times: “I'm trying to make it as absurd and useless as possible."
Watch 'Creme That Egg,' 'The Page Turner,' (our personal favorite,) and other Rube Goldberg examples below: