The Man-Machine Relation in Art and Science.

When man merges with machine by Bob EggletonIllustration; When man merges with machine by Bob Eggleton

The machine, over the course of the 20th century, progressively integrated itself into all fields of human activity. At first machines were conceived to alleviate the hard and mind killing facets of human labor. In Babylonian times, a day’s hard work would produce enough to light a room for 10 minutes. By the end of the 20th century, the return on a day’s labor had improved from 10 minutes to 10 years of light .

During the first decades of the 20th century the machine concepts were purely functional,  but in the wake of the Second World War a surprisingly vital and wide-ranging series of perspectives  established on the relationship between the machine and humans, in which the machine became a legitimate scientific and artistic medium.

The relation between human and machine became even more intimate when machines were developed to correct or even improve some human biochemical, physical or mental functions. How many scientists or artists can still seriously claim that they would be able to function without any technological assistance? The main source of creativity comes from connecting art to science. To be really creative, you have to be interested in all sorts of different disciplines rather than be a specialist.

The machine, in other words, continues to have an ever-increasing physical footprint; moreover, for the first time, the undeniable vulnerability of humankind to these increasingly advanced technologies induces actual vertigo. The French anthropologist André Leroi-Gourhan remarked in 1983 that “what is happening in our world is without doubt grave, but the privilege of living during the generations that have been chosen to know the moment when man would find himself naked before his machines must command confident reflection”.

 

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