quinta-feira, 3 de dezembro de 2009

The Melancholy Android

(...recounts the lives of the technological visionaries responsible for blurring human and machine. Focusing on Descartes, la Mettrie, Jacques de Vaucanson, and Thomas Edison, Wood is keen on the bizarre details surrounding the concoction of humanoid machines, the habits of the men who have loved levers over limbs.
In her more intellectually ambitious study, Nelson examines how the androids of modern literature, cinema, and comics recall the ancient Hermetic idea that human icons are conductors of divine as well as demonic energy.
Her study evokes the religious impulse behind the creation of androids and shows how the quest for mechanistic efficiency is really a drive toward Edenic grace. Warner in her little encyclopedia of the invisible world focuses on technologies designed to record the currents of spirit. Though she does not emphasize the android as a vehicle of unseen life, she details other modes by which people have recorded the beyond: poetry, painting, photography, cinema, séances, the gathering of ectoplasm. Telotte in his examination of androids in science fiction cinema considers how artificial humans in film measure our stances toward technology, humanity, and cinema itself. While the book focuses on film, it also explores our enduring
fascination with androids—how we embrace the android as manifestation of our ability to shape our environment, how we fear the android as register of mechanistic threat to our humanity.
Without these books as catalysts, I could not have formulated my irrational drives into arguments. Still, I was in the end forced to explore a phenomenon beyond the scope of these studies: the chronic melancholia besetting the man fixated on androids. This sadness of the machine maker and of his products eludes the historical focus of Woods, the cultural emphasis of Nelson, the optical theories of Warner, the cinematic analyses of Telotte.
The psychological currents of my essay take me to vague regions of the mind, to thresholds between the unconscious and consciousness, to the dark unconscious itself. These spaces—gloomy and somber—are beyond chronology, representation, sight, and celluloid. Yet, though mysterious, these realms nonetheless originate the drives behind the android: ruinous love for Eden, relentless instinct for death. If writers such as Wood, Nelson, Warner, and Telotte—Virgilian guides—pointed my way to these terrible places, then more ponderous beings led me through the gray air: not only Ficino, Kleist, Freud, and Jung, but also Poe, Goethe, and Mary Shelley.)


1. The Melancholy Android
2. The Mummy
3. The Golem
4. The Automaton
5. The Sadness of the Somnambulist

The Melancholy Android - On the psychology of sacred machines - Eric G.Wilson [ Download ]