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 Naomi Vogt
14.12.2017 14:00 - 15:00
Vortrag Klaus Heinrich Kohrs
10.01.2018 18:15 - 19:30
Vortrag Salvatore Pisani
17.01.2018 18:15 - 19:30
Vortrag Iris Lauterbach
24.01.2018 18:15 - 19:30
Vortrag Barbara Vinken
31.01.2018 18:15 - 19:30
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