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Machine Art in the Twentieth Century$
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Andreas Broeckmann

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035064

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035064.001.0001

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Body Machine

Body Machine

Chapter:
(p.167) 5 Body Machine
Source:
Machine Art in the Twentieth Century
Author(s):

Andreas Broeckmann

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262035064.003.0006

This chapter deals with the way in which the meaning of the machine is intertwined with that of the human body. Throughout modernity, the human organism has been understood both as a model for the conception of mechanical systems and as the site of a subjectivity which is undermined by such technological systems. This charged terrain has been the subject of the entire artistic career of the Australian artist Stelarc. His work is analyzed in detail and taken as a point of entry into a historical presentation of conceptions of the body, from the mechanical through the cybernetic, and in the work of artists like Oskar Schlemmer and El Lissitzky, as well as in the more recent, deconstructive approaches by Wim Delvoye, or Seiko Mikami. The chapter also outlines how the notion of an encapsulated human body merging with its technical environment can be found not only in the cybernetic fantasy of Oswald Wiener’s “Bio-Adapter”, but also in similar proposals by authors as different as Kazimir Malevich, Max Bense, and Vilém Flusser.

Keywords:   body, machine performance, Stelarc, prosthetics, robot, Bio-Adapter, body without organs, Oskar Schlemmer, Wim Delvoye, Seiko Mikami

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