• Renaissance Robotics: Leonardo da Vinci's Lost Knight and Enlivened Materiality

    Author(s):
    Anne Pasek (see profile)
    Date:
    2014
    Subject(s):
    Art history, Leonardo da Vinci, New materialism, Science and technology studies (STS)
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    automaton, Descartes
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/pj7w-zk87
    Abstract:
    René Descartes posits a curious anxiety his Second Meditation that an otherwise convincing form might conceal a post-human robotic entity. Machinic and animalian bodies, in his dualistic perspective, were seen to exist on a lesser order than the soul of man. Yet, as Descartes himself seems to wonder, the maintenance of this divide is a fraught endeavor when automata can mimic human shape and movement. The question of animate materiality is curiously echoed in the earlier writings of Leonardo da Vinci. These fellow thinkers and tinkerers agreed on the analogous principles between bodies and machines, yet they are at odds as to the implications of these beliefs. What da Vinci's anatomical studies, robotic prototypes and treatises on art suggest is the far more radical possibility of material bodies and souls, conjoined in sensation and movement. In this flat ecology of bodies, machines and spirit, Leonardo's robots suggest a radical alternative to our Cartesian inheritance.
    Notes:
    http://shiftjournal.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/01_Pasek.pdf
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    8 months ago
    License:
    Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
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