Seriously, there’s a way to do it. I’m going to show you how.

This is not a hidden metaphor. I am not trying to be profound.

I’m just going to show you how to straighten a goddamn muthafuckkin bent wire. So that in the off-chance someone you need to impress goes: ‘I need this wire straightened out, how?’,  you can take charge. You can say: ‘Like this.’ And proceed to impress the pants off said person.


If you’re wondering, I needed to do this for my artwork Portable Sensors. It’s a set of interactive buzzwires based on statistics about banned books in Malaysia.

The work is currently touring in Indonesia, as part of the exhibition Kembara Jiwa (The Travelling Soul). Nur Hanim Khairuddin (the curator and all-round art superwoman) sent me some pictures of people playing with the work:

People touching my art. This makes me so happy.


Let’s get to it!

STEP 1: You’ll need a power drill, pliers/wire cutters, and of course, some bent wire.


STEP 2: Find somewhere secure and wrap one end of the wire around it. It needs to be firmly attached to something, preferably part of a building structure. A doorknob or towel rung on a shut door would work. I’m using this little hook at my front entrance. You can see the remainders of many past bent wires.


STEP 3: Open up the chuck of the drill and put the other end of the bent wire in there. Tighten firmly. Firm enough so that when you pull on it, the wire stays in.


STEP 4: Now stand-up, stand back, grip your drill firmly. Maintain a gentle pulling tension on the drill towards yourself as you turn the drill on. The wire will twist around itself. Continue holding the tension and pressing the drill button until it straightens out completely. Don’t over-straighten! The wire’s structural strength will be compromised and it may snap. You’ll find that the wire will also get a bit warm as it turns.


Cut the wire off and YOU’RE DONE.


So straight.

You can bend this totally straight wire into lovely shapes. Just like I did. Well my shapes are graphs about Malaysian censorship. You, you can do whatever gets you happy. Now, go make something.

You’re welcome!


P.S. Here are some rejected Portable Sensors prototypes. It’s bonsai wire. Turns out the coating of black paint makes it unable to conduct electricity. That’s Zedeck’s finger doing photo-bombing. He said the wires reminded him of an album cover. Any idea which?


This is a series of weekly blog tutorials about how to do various things, from the practical to the esoteric. Go here to see past How Tos.