Monday, October 06, 2008

Who Said Automata Need to be Whimsical?

Automaton artist Tom Haney posed a question to me in the email that accompanied a link to this video:
"Who says all automata have to be fun and/or whimsical?"
Point taken.

Indeed, contemporary automata are as valid a medium for social statements as any other art form. Their ability to tell a story through character, scene, and motion make them well suited to portray all manner events -- even serious human drama as in this piece by Jon Haddock entitled Andrew Meyer (Don't Tase Me Bro').

Because the viewer/user must provide the power to the hand-cranked mechanism of the automaton, they might feel somewhat complicit in the acts depicted. This may make automata a particularly powerful vehicle for critical thinking, reflection, and social change.

[ Thanks to Tom Haney ]

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