Axel Thallemer | Martin Danzer


Art & Design


120 pages
24.5 x 22.5 cm, 120 colour illustrations with silkscreen printing. Japanese binding with stone paper. A book object that includes a film.

 39,80 incl. VAT

ISBN 978-3-89790-352-4 Category:


A non-verbal pictorial history of the fascination of ‘robots’ in printed and moving images. A book object including a film!

The golden figure of the machine-man Maria from Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’ is a synonym of the fascination for robots. In our visual memory she is the prototype of acting and animated mechanics. The android capable of empathy, such as Data in ‘Star Trek’, is the peak of our ability to imagine a robot endowed with sensory and adaptive characteristics like a human being. It all started with automatons, from Archytas of Tarentum’s flying dove in classical times, to the mechanical apparatus described by Al-Dschazari in the 12th century, Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches of humanoid robots and the mechanical duck by Jacques de Vaucanson around 1740. Today we have attained the era of industrial robots, which can accomplish work faster and more precisely than people, replacing them in more and more sectors. Robots have been employed for a long time in the exploration of places hostile to life like Mars or the nuclear reactor blocks of Fukushima.

The automated systems also include replicas of human or animal locomotion, such as artificial, functional and lifelike prostheses, known since the time of the pharaohs and reaching their current apex in the Exoskeleton HAL. If these simulations are to be used for pointing, grasping or reaching, then the determination of purpose in their design plays a central role. The inspirational spectrum of the history of automatons and replicas of man in machines is portrayed here.

This book-object captures the fascination of robots in monochrome illustrations and transmits the abstract iconography of the machine through the interplay of print, lighting and paper. The high incidence of abstract metaphors corresponds to the high degree of uniformity in the industrial design of robots versus the technology disguised in ‘human’ forms. The great similarity of the designed machines shows the rational purpose of their implementation. In man-made technology and mechanics the design is more or less directly analogous to biological models. As a non-verbal pictorial history this book-object portrays the alternative design of a robotic arm on the basis of visual analysis of previous solutions and inspires with ideals taken from animated nature.


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