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Beyond the mechanical turk
January 21, 2013 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Richard Garriott, perhaps better known as Lord British, has a wonderful collection of wooden automata in his house, in his Austin, Texas home Britannia Manor II (complete with observatory, and put up for sale in 2011). Here is an automata museum exhibit courtesy the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre in Glasgow. Or perhaps you would like to see more from individual automata artists? Perhaps you find this new-fangled stuff insufficiently respectful of the past: would you like a history lesson (links to the left)? Or might you like to learn how to make your own, out of paper? If all else fails, how about these anti-war automata?
posted by flibbertigibbet (12 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite

 
The first video is absolutely fascinating. I love watching people be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about a topic that I know nothing about.
posted by Petrot at 4:51 PM on January 21, 2013


I love Automata and will have to check all these out. A modern take in a similar vein is the art of U-Ram Choe.
posted by bongo_x at 5:16 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


The automaton of a knight battling a fake dragon in the first video is unspeakably cool.

Surely there is a German compound word that describes the pleasure of watching well-made mechanical devices?

I know I get it whenever I look at these (and also at those rolling ball kinetic artworks).
posted by dontjumplarry at 5:28 PM on January 21, 2013


Wonderful post, really - that first clip about Richard Garriott and all his collections so fascinating. And I really want the spaghetti eater at about 40 seconds into that museum exhibit link. What a great collection you've assembled in this post.

I recently found and was charmed by David Roentgen's Automaton of Queen Marie Antoinette, The Dulcimer Player so I throw that into the mix. Thanks for the post, flibbertigibbet.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:30 PM on January 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I approve of how Richard Garriott has decided to spend his loot.
posted by notyou at 6:16 PM on January 21, 2013


Very cool, really enjoy the non-digital open-box aspect. Computer stuff is great and all but it's black box magic - nice to see and clearly intuit the mechanics at work, as one artist said, to wonder. Similar aspect with table-top games where the rules are open and the pieces mechanical.
posted by stbalbach at 9:23 PM on January 21, 2013


Surely there is a German compound word that describes the pleasure of watching well-made mechanical devices?

Let's make one up! Apparatzufriedenheit which with no years of German I declare means contraption satisfaction.
posted by fleacircus at 10:47 PM on January 21, 2013


The first automaton in the anti-war group reminds me of the U.S. political system. I just wonder who the figure in the center represents.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 6:41 AM on January 22, 2013


There's a whole museum dedicated to this sort of thing in Kobe.
posted by koucha at 10:50 AM on January 22, 2013


The video about Garriott's collection is great. Can anyone however tell me what the hell that black stuff is when the host talks about 'the altar'? It lasts for about 15 seconds and start at 5:00.
posted by Alex404 at 11:01 AM on January 22, 2013


Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination may be of interest. (Note: I am under the impression the author himself has shared the full text of this book on archive.org. If that is not the case, well, sorry!)
posted by Lorin at 9:09 PM on January 22, 2013


Can anyone however tell me what the hell that black stuff is when the host talks about 'the altar'?--Alex404

Looks like Ferrofluid.
posted by eye of newt at 10:55 PM on January 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


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