Paper Cuts Guillotine Experience

Paper Cuts is an interactive paper guillotine by artists Mandy Smith and Hal Kirkland. It invites people to experience the world’s most recognizable instrument of death, head first. However, unlike its deadly ancestor, this blade offers nothing more final than a paper cut. The Paper Cuts guillotine experience, hosted in Amsterdam and London, brings a new twist to this infamous apparatus by transforming a powerful symbol of death into a thing of beauty. Delicate, inviting and something people may even line up for. Voluntarily this time. Every time the paper blade falls a camera films the person’s final fate-filled expression, forever immortalizing it on as a sharable Gif.

Paper Cuts Guillotine

This piece is the first collaboration between artists Mandy Smith and Hal Kirkland. What began as a simple creative sit-down in an Amsterdam bar soon manifested into the 3.8-meter behemoth it is today. Mandy had always been disturbed by the idea of capital punishment since she was young and had begun to play with the idea of creating a series of deadly devices while juxtaposing them with the fragility and beauty of paper art. Hal suggested creating one at full-size, transforming the piece into a sculpture that allowed paper art – an art form usually too delicate to touch – to become inherently interactive. Both artists unified their craft, interactive skills sets and before long Paper Cuts was born.

Paper Cuts Guillotine Recording

Paper Cuts Guillotine Screen

Paper Cuts Guillotine Plaster

Paper Cuts Guillotine

Paper Cuts Guillotine


Paper Cuts was developed by interactive creative director/artist Hal Kirkland, paper artist Mandy Smith with production designer Barnaby Monk. Photography is by Aaron Tilly, London, and Dario Fusnecher, Amsterdam.

Sound was designed by sound director Michael Kneeboone at Toolbox Audio. The website was developed by creative developer Thijs van Hoof at Random Studio.