Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Machine & Cover

Within the complex world of machines a particular role is played by books. The cover images are the first presentation of their content, a sort of dress, and in the communication society even more "The dress makes the person; the saddle the horse".
A first reviewof book cover plates shiowing the word "machine", waiting for a conceptual map, is available at the address: http://www.vittoriomarchis.it/machine&Cover_1.html

Machine & Myth

Several ancient myths are played around machines and other artifacts: the Trojan horse, the golden apple of Atalanta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atalanta), the Icarus artificial wings, the Sun chariot, the spindle and the loom of the the sexual machine built by Daidalos for Pasiphae who generated the Minotaur (http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Pasiphae.html).
The mythological origin of the water wheel for corn milling is reported by Antipatros of Thessaloniki, a Greek poet of the first century b. C., among the poems of the Palatine Anthology, cited also by Karl Marx in chapter 15 of the first book of Das Kapital.

"Spare the hand that grinds the corn, Oh, miller girls, and softly sleep. Let Chanticleer announce the morn in vain! Deo has commanded the work of the girls to be done by the Nymphs, and now they skip lightly over the wheels, so that the shaken axles revolve with their spokes and pull round the load of the revolving stones. Let us live the life of our fathers, and let us rest from work and enjoy the gifts that the Goddess sends us. "

This myth is a wonderful ante litteram example of women emancipation by technology, the same that will appear when washing machines, in the ’50, changed the domestic life habits. It is remarkable how technology, often considered as a masculine affair, reveals so many feminine presences.
The myth of Atalanta and Ippomenes returns in the alchemical baroque music composed by Michael Maier: Atalanta fugiens (Frankfurt, 1617).
Some electronic examples of the musical variations of Atalanta fugiens have been reported in the hypertext of the exhibition "Un sistema periodico da Amedeo Avogadro a Primo Levi" (Torino, 2001).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Smell ex Machina

The smell of machines, in a synestesic perspective, has to gain if the visual approach, so typical in our multimedia culture, finds acoustic consonances. Amadeus ex Machina, a work by the composer Lawrence Dillon, "is a whimsical re-imagining of Mozart's 40th symphony from the perspective of a sophisticated - but somewhat disoriented - machine". (http://www.lawrencedillon.com/amadeus.php)
A search on Google about "musica ex machina" produced about 11.000 pages that decrease to 22 if the search is refined to <"musica ex machina" AND "smell">. No pages are produced by the search engine if asked for "smell ex machina".

The futurist poet Marinetti, in a letter from the trenches of Adrianopolis, described to Luigi Russolo "with marvelous free words the orchestra of a great battle" (The Art of Noises, http://www.eclectic.it/russolo/artofnoises.pdf)
There, on the battleground, souds visions and smells are all mixed together:

“every 5 seconds siege cannons gutting space with a chord ZANG-TUMB-TUUMB mutiny of 500 echos smashing scattering it to infinity. In the center of this hateful ZANG-TUMBTUUMB area 50square kilometers leaping bursts lacerations fists rapid fire batteries. Violence ferocity regularity this deep bass scanning the strange shrill frantic crowds of the battle Fury breathless ears eyes nostrils open! load! fire! what a joy to see to hear to smell (vedere udire fiutare tutto tutto...) everything everything taratatata of the machine guns screaming a breathless under the stings slaps traak-traak whips pic-pac-pum-tumb weirdness leaps 200 meters range Far far in back of the orchestra pools muddying huffing goaded oxen wagons pluff-plaff horse action flic flac zing zing shaaack laughing whinnies the tiiinkling jiiingling tramping 3 Bulgarian battalions marching croooc-craaac [slowly] Shumi Maritza or Karvavena ZANG-TUMBTUUUMB toc-toc-toc-toc [fast] crooc-craac [slowly] crys of officers slamming about like brass plates pan here paak there BUUUM ching chaak [very fast] cha-cha-cha-cha-chaak down there up around high up look out your head beautiful! Flashing flashing flashing flashing flashing flashing footlights of the forts down there behind that smoke Shukri Pasha communicates by phone with 27 forts in Turkish in German Allo! Ibrahim! Rudolf! allo! allo! actors parts echos of prompters scenery of smoke forests applause odor of hay mud dung I no longer feel my frozen feet odor of gunsmoke odor of rot Tympani flutes clarinets everywhere low high birds chirping blessed shadows cheep-cheep-cheep green breezes flocks don-dan-don-din-baaah Orchestra madmen pommel the performers they terribly beaten playing Great din not erasing clearing up cutting off slighter noises very small scraps of echos in the theater area 300 square kilometers Rivers Maritza Tungia stretched out Rodolpi Mountains rearing heights loges boxes 2000 shrapnels waving arms exploding very white handkerchiefs full of gold srrrr-TUMB-TUMB 2000 raised grenades tearing out bursts of very black hair ZANG-srrrr-TUMB-ZANG-TUMB-TUUMB the orchestra of the noises of war swelling under a held note of silence in the high sky round golden balloon that observes the firing...”

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Reinvent the Nature?

Why not to read Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century," in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), pp.149-181? Look at the Cyborg Manifesto.
The Italian translation of the book has been published by Feltrinelli.

A detailed excerpt can be found at the address: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/Haraway/CyborgManifesto.html

A Forum with Braidotti, Haraway, Scott, and Mitchell has been organized by "Reset":

The Sex of the Machines

With reference to the novel La manufacture des machines by Louis-Philippe Hébert, Canadian writer, see: La fiction illimitée, an article written by Robert Morency and appeared on the Review "Voix et Images", Louis-Philippe Hébert, Volume 4, numéro 3 (avril 1979), sous la direction de Noël Audet, p. 357-371.
In this text some interesting considerations around "le sexe des machines" and "les machines célibataires" appear related to the Louis-Philippe Hébert works.


Scent of Machine

Remember the movie Profumo di donna (directed by Dino Risi, 1974; with Vittorio Gassman and Agostina Belli), the archetype of the more known Scent of Woman (directed by Martin Brest, 1992 ; with Al Pacino)
The connection between sexual attraction and olfactory sensation is clear.
But what is the role of smell in technological attraction? Is there a connection that links the gender of machines? Is it possible to speak about of a gender classification of machines? Which is the role of the five senses (and expecially of the sense of smell) in the technological choices?
Memorable is the scene when Arnie Cunningham mets the car Christine (see the movie Christine directed by John Carpenter, 1983, on a novel by Stephen King):

"George LeBay: Her name's Christine.
Arnie Cunningham: I like that.
Dennis Guilder: Come on Arnie, we gotta get goin', huh?
George LeBay: My asshole brother bought her back in September '57. That's when you got your new model year, in September. Brand-new, she was. She had the smell of a brand-new car. That's just about the finest smell in the world, 'cept maybe for pussy. "

In the very poor bibliography and webography of Macine & Gender, even if the olfactory sensations receive always a minor attention, we can find:

A seminar about Machine & Gender will be held in Turin, Italy, Politecnico, Historical and Documentation Center (www.polito.it/cemed) on monday, February 12, 2007.

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Names of Smell

A Babylonic Mess of Smell: verbs and nouns are mixed all together.

perfumar, reyach, pucia, odor, aroma, fragrância, cheiro, hálito, oler, olfatear, olor, perfume, hedor, hediondez peste, pestazo, kokmak, mirisati, mirìzein, evodhìa, mirodhià, vròma, miros, mirisati, bròma, osmê, thumìama, ozô, osfainomai, yashim, rassh, gandha, dhupa, bau, kagu, perfume, fragrance, fragrancy, scent, redolence, redolency, essence, fruitiness, flavour, savour, sweet, sweetness, smell, nose, aura, breath, whiff, wind, emanation, stinker, pong, reek, tang, whiff, stink, stench stankwiz, Parfum, Duft, Aroma, Geruch, Wohlgeruch Gestank, Ausdünstung, Mief, Fäulnis, riechen, schmeken, lucht, geur, ¢ör, stank, reuk, lukta, lukte, lugte, haistaa, wąchać, čichati, запах, благовоние, благоухание, аромàт, душить, нюхать, pákhnut, пахнуть дурно пахнут, воять, вонь, зловоние, дурной запaх, arôme, fumet, émanation, exhalaison, sentir, senteur, odeur, fragrance, effluve, relent, haleine, fétidité, puanteur, parfum, baume, balme, besme, balsamum.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Smell of the Machine

Smell is a new/old sensation
Machine is a new/old device
The Machine of Smell has not yet invented
The Smell of the Machine has to be experienced


MachineSmell is a new way of investigating the postcontemporary society:
MachineSmell is aphorismatic
MachineSmell is technological
MachineSmell is multicultural
Machinesmell is artistic
MachineSmell is sensorial
MachineSmell is ...