Contemporary automata are often fun and whimsical. This playful nature can mask the fact that they are also capable of taking on serious social issues. Here is an automaton by Nick Hunn that makes a statement about the a serious political debate in the UK.
The artist explains the background of this automaton:
In the UK there's a political debate raging about reform in our National Health Service, which is polarising opinion at a national level. I thought it might be fun to try and represent the limited abilities of the political figures involved in the debate. And what better way than to reprise the theme of the three wise monkeys, oblivious to everything that goes on around them.
Not only does the artist get to say something about the socio-political debate, but he is able to do it in a humorous way. Like the political cartoon, automata can engage with a broad audiences -- perhaps provoking them to think about and discuss important issues.
To see some other automata that address social issues:
- Jon Haddock's automata entitled Andrew Meyer (Don't Tase Me Bro') and The Doctor's Dilemma
- Arrogance, an automaton by Pablo Lavezarri
- Dominic Wilcox series of miniature kinetic sculptures
- The background history of Tippoo's Tiger - automaton and organ
- Shipwreck, an automaton by Carlos Zapata
- Against the Idea of War - automata exhibit by the Modern Automata Museum