Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Origami cranes perform synchronized dance routine with the help of magnets

I love this ingenious combination of traditional paper origami, magnets, puppetry, and programmed electronics. The flock of dancing cranes is the creation of Japanese designer Ugoita T. The result is a whimsical whole that is more than the sum of the parts. I think there are a lot of other interesting things he could do with this concept.

Via the Colossal blog



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Monday, March 02, 2015

Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination

Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination
Due out late in February of 2011 is a most intriguing book by Minsoo Kang entitled Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination. The book explores the Western world's fascination with automata in order to better understand ourselves as humans.

From the book's press release:
Kang tracks the first appearance of the automaton in ancient myths through the medieval and Renaissance periods, marks the proliferation of the automaton as a central intellectual concept in the Scientific Revolution and the subsequent backlash during the Enlightenment, and details appearances in Romantic literature and the introduction of the living machine in the Industrial Age. He concludes with a reflection on the destructive confrontation between humanity and machinery in the modern era and the reverberations of the humanity-machinery theme today.

That is an impressive scope of inquiry! This book is sure to be a fascinating read for anyone interested in automata.

Here is where you can get the book: Sublime Dreams of Living Machines: The Automaton in the European Imagination.



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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Musical Machines and Living Dolls: The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata


Yesterday's post reminded me to remind you about this book I posted about back in 2011. The Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ is home to the Guinness Collection of 750 antique, mechanical musical instruments and automata. It is one of the biggest, best, and most well-managed collections I know of.

The museum has created an illustrated book featuring pieces from its permanent exhibition titled Musical Machines and Living Dolls: The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata. Written by Ellen M. Snyder-Grenier (former Curator of the Guinness Collection), this 144-page hardcover features 138 photographs and over 20 illustrations on beautiful glossy paper.

Evenly divided between automata and mechanical musical instruments, the book is a wealth of information on the history of both. It is a beautiful and well-written book, which offers a rich view of an extremely important collection. I recommend it. It makes a great gift for those with a serious interest in the subject.

Here is where you can order Musical Machines and Living Dolls.


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