Keating: Between Machina and Anima: Early Modern Automata


My dissertation, Between Machina and Anima: Early Modern Automata, focuses on the production, collection, and reception of automata - self-propelled mimetic objects - in German princely "Wunderkammern" or cabinets of curiosities, in the sixteenth century. Automata captivated contemporary observers by virtue of their skilled construction, virtuoso artifice, and animation. As such, these objects occupy a key aesthetic category, one that has largely gone unstudied.

While the idea of an automaton has been treated repeatedly by historians of science and historians of technology, the actual sixteenth-century objects themselves have never been thoroughly studied in their own right. My dissertation offers a groundbreaking examination of the historical and phenomenological conditions of the making and appreciation of early modern automata. By surveying these self-propelled, mimetic objects through an art historical lens my dissertation departs from previous scholarship. Rather than approaching automata as rational, knowledge-bearing, technological achievements that epitomized the "Scientific Revolution", I analyze the ways in which automata engaged contemporaneous convictions about the manufacture and experience of art objects in the early modern period. The result is a new conception of how early modern individuals privileged particular forms of mimetic representations and certain types of manual labor that produced those forms.


Prof. Dr. Iris Lauterbach

Projektmitarbeiter ZI




Workshop Inke Beckmann
30.03.2017 14:00 - 15:30
Kolloquium "Provenienz- und Sammlungsforschung (IX)"
05.04.2017 13:15 - 19:45
Workshop Annika Wienert, Warschau
12.04.2017 14:00 - 15:30
The Hugo Helbing Lecture - Exploring the Art Market
26.04.2017 19:00 - 21:00
Vortrag Gábor Endrődi
03.05.2017 18:15 - 19:30
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