R.U.R.




Perhaps not everyone knows that the word robot comes from czech and, to be exact, from the play R.U.R (Rossum's Universal Robots) by Karel Čapek.
Translated from the Czech by Paul Selver.

• Harry Domain, General Manager for Rossum's Universal Robots
• Fabry, Chief Engineer for R.U.R.
• Dr. Gall, Head of the Physiological Dept. of R.U.R.
• Dr. Hellman, Psychologist-in-Chief
• Jacob Berman, Managing Director of R.U.R.
• Alquist, Clerk of the works of R.U.R.
• Helena Glory, Daughter of Professor Glory, Oxbridge University
• Emma, her maid
• Marius, a robot
• Sula, a robot
• Radius, a robot
• Primus, a robot
• Helena, a robotess
A Robot Servant and Numerous Robots


ON A REMOTE ISLAND.

ACT I:

Central Office of the Factory of Rossum's Universal Robots.


Entrance at the back on the right. The windows look out onto endless rows of factory buildings. DOMAIN is sitting in a revolving chair at a large "knee-hole" writing table on which stand an electric lamp, telephone, letter-weight, correspondence file, etc. On the left-hand wall hang large maps showing steamship and railway routes, a large calendar, and a clock indicating a few minutes before noon. On the right-hand wall are fastened printed placards:

"CHEAP LABOR. ROSSUM'S ROBOTS."
"ROBOTS FOR THE TROPICS. 150 DOLLARS EACH."
"EVERYONE SHOULD BUY HIS OWN ROBOT."
"DO YOU WANT TO CHEAPEN YOUR OUTPUT?
ORDER ROSSUM'S ROBOTS":

-- more maps, shipping transport arrangements, etc. A tape machine showing rates of exchange stands in one corner. In contrast to these wall fittings, the floor is covered with a splendid Turkey carpet. On the right stand a round table, a sofa, leather armchair, and a bookshelf containing bottles of wine and spirits instead of books. Cashier's desk on the left.

Next to DOMAIN'S table SULLA is typing letters.


DOMAIN: (Dictating.) "We do not accept any liability for goods damaged in transit. When the consignment was shipped, we drew your Captain's attention to the fact that the vessel was unsuitable for the transportation of Robots. The matter is one for your own insurance company. We beg to remain, for Rossum's Universal Robots --" Finished?
SULLA: Yes.
DOMAIN: Another letter. "To the E. B. Hudson Agency, New York. Date. We beg to acknowledge receipt of order for five thousand Robots. As you are sending your own vessel, please dispatch as cargo briquettes for R.U.R., the same to be credited as part-payment of the amount due to us. We beg to remain --" Finished?
SULLA: (Typing the last word.) Yes.
DOMAIN: "Friedrichswerke, Hamburg. Date. We beg to acknowledge receipt of order for fifteen thousand Robots."
(The house telephone rings. DOMAIN picks it up and speaks into it.)
Hallo, this is the central office -- yes -- certainly. oh, yes, as usual. Of course, send them a cable. Good. (Hangs up telephone)
Where did I leave off?
SULLA: We beg to acknowledge receipt of order of fifteen thousand R.
DOMAIN: (Thoughtfully) Fifteen thousand R. Fifteen thousand R.
MARIUS: (Entering) There's a lady, sir, asking to --
DOMAIN: Who is she?
MARIUS: I don't know, sir. She gave me this card.
DOMAIN: (Reads) Professor William Glory, St. Trydewyde's, Oxbridge -- ask her to come in.
MARIUS: (Opening the door) Please step this way, ma'am.
Enter HELENA GLORY.
Exit MARIUS

DOMAIN: (Standing up) What can I do for you, madame?
HELENA: You are Mr. Domain, the general manager.
DOMAIN: I am.
HELENA: I have come to you --
DOMAIN: With Professor Glory's card. That is sufficient.
HELENA: Professor Glory is my father. I am Helena Glory.
DOMAIN: Miss Glory, it is an unusual honor for us to be -- to be --
HELENA: Yes, well.
DOMAIN: To be allowed to welcome the distinguished professor's daughter. Please sit down. Sulla, you may go.
Exit SULLA
(Sitting down)
How may I be of service to you, Miss Glory?
HELENA: I have come here --
DOMAIN: To have a look at our factory where people are made. Like all visitors. Well, there's no objection.
HELENA: I thought it was forbidden --
DOMAIN: It is forbidden to enter the factory, of course. But everybody comes here with an introduction and then --
HELENA: And you show everybody --?
DOMAIN: Only certain things. The manufacture of artificial people is a secret process.
HELENA: If you only knew how enormously that --
DOMAIN: Interests me, you were going to say. Europe's talking about nothing else.
HELENA: I only wanted to ask --
DOMAIN: Whether I could make a special exception in your case and show you our factory. Certainly, Miss Glory.
HELENA: How do you know that I wanted to ask you that?
DOMAIN: They all do. (Standing up) We shall consider it a special honor to show you more than the rest, because -- indeed -- I mean --
HELENA: Thank you.
DOMAIN: But you must not undertake to divulge the least --
HELENA: (Standing up and giving him her hand) My word of honor.
DOMAIN: Thank you. Won't you raise your veil?
HELENA: Oh, of course, you want to see me. I beg your pardon.
DOMAIN: What is it, please?
HELENA: Would you mind letting my hand go?
DOMAIN (Releasing it) I beg your pardon.
HELENA: (Taking off her veil) You want to see whether I am a spy or not. How cautious you are!
DOMAIN: (Looking at her intently) H'm, of course -- we -- that is --
HELENA: You don't trust me?
DOMAIN: Oh, indeed, Miss Glory, I'm only too delighted. Weren't you lonely on the voyage?
HELENA: Why?
DOMAIN: Because -- I mean to say -- you're so young.
HELENA: Yes. Shall we go straight into the factory?
DOMAIN: Twenty-two, I think, eh?
HELENA: Twenty-two what?
DOMAIN: Years.
HELENA: Twenty-one. Why do you want to know?
DOMAIN: Because as -- -- (With enthusiasm) You'll make a long stay, won't you?
HELENA: That depends upon how much of the factory you show me.
DOMAIN: Oh, hang the factory. But you shall see everything, Miss Glory, indeed you shall. Please sit down. Would you like to hear the story of the invention?
HELENA: Yes, please.
DOMAIN: Well, then. (Sits down with writing-table, looks at HELENA with rapture and reels off rapidly) It was the in the year 1922 that old Rossum the great physiologist, who was then quite a young scientist, betook himself to this distant island for the purpose of studying the ocean fauna, full stop. On this occasion he attempted by chemical synthesis to imitate the living matter known as protoplasm, until he suddenly discovered a substance which behaved exactly like living matter, although its chemical composition was different; that was in the year 1932, exactly 400 years after the discovery of America, whew!
HELENA: Do you know that by heart?
DOMAIN: Physiology, Miss Glory, is not my line. Shall I go on?
HELENA: Please do.
DOMAIN: (Solemnly) And then, Miss Glory, old Rossum wrote the following day in his book: "Nature has found only one method of organizing living matter. There is, however, another method more simple, flexible, and rapid, which has not yet occurred to nature at all. This second process by which life can be developed was discovered by me today." Imagine him, Miss Glory, writing those wonderful words. Imagine him sitting over a test tube and thinking how the whole tree of life would grow from it, how animals would proceed from it, beginning with some sort of beetle and ending with man himself. A man of different substance from ours. Miss Glory, that was a tremendous moment.
HELENA: Go on, please.
DOMAIN: Now the thing was, how to get the life out of the test tube and hasten development: to form organs, bones and nerves, and so on: to find such substances as catalytics, enzymes, hormones, and so forth, in short -- you understand?
HELENA: I don't know. Not much, I'm afraid.
DOMAIN: Never mind. You see, with the help of his tinctures he could make whatever he wanted. He could have produced a Medusa with the brain of a Socrates or a worm fifty yards long. But being without a grain of humor, he took it into his head to make a normal vertebrate. This artificial living matter of his had a raging thirst for life. It didn't mind being sewn up or mixed together. THAT, you'll admit, couldn't be done with natural albumen. And that's how he set about it.
HELENA: About what?
DOMAIN: About imitating nature. First of all he tried making an artificial dog. That took him several years and resulted in a sort of stunted calf which died in a few days. I'll show it you in the museum. And then old Rossum started on the manufacture of man.
(Pause)
HELENA: And I must divulge this to nobody?
DOMAIN: To nobody in this world.
HELENA: It's a pity that it can already be found in every school lesson book.
DOMAIN: Yes. (Jumps up from the table and sits down beside HELENA.) But do you know what isn't in the lesson books? (Taps his forehead) That old Rossum was quite mad. Seriously, Miss Glory, you must keep this to yourself. The old crank actually wanted to make people.
HELENA: But you do make people.
DOMAIN: Synthetically, Miss Helena. But old Rossum meant it actually. He wanted to become a sort of scientific substitute for God, you know. He was a fearful materialist, and that's why he did it all. His sole purpose was to supply proof that Providence was no longer necessary. So he took it into his head to make people exactly like us. Do you know anything about anatomy?
HELENA: Only a very little.
DOMAIN: So do I. Imagine then that he decided to manufacture everything as in the human body. I'll show you in the museum the bungling attempt it took him ten years to produce. It was to have been a man, but it lived for three years only. Then up came young Rossum, an engineer, the nephew of old Rossum. A wonderful fellow, Miss Glory. When he saw what a mess of it the old man was making, he said: "It's absurd to spend ten years making a man. If you can't make him quicker then nature, you may as well shut up shop." Then he set about learning anatomy himself.
HELENA: There's nothing about that in the lesson books.
DOMAIN: (Standing up) The lesson books are full of paid advertisement and rubbish at that. For example, it says there that the Robots were invented by an old man. But it was young Rossum who had the idea of making living and intelligent working machines. What the lesson books say about the united efforts of the two great Rossums is all a fairy tale. They used to have dreadful rows. The old atheist hadn't the slightest conception of industrial matters, and the end of it was that young Rossum shut him up in some laboratory or other and let him fritter the time away with his monstrosities, while he himself started on the business from an engineer's point of view. Old Rossum cursed him, and before he died he managed to botch up two physiological horrors. Then one day they found him dead in the laboratory. That's the whole story.
HELENA: And what about the young man?
DOMAIN: Well, anyone who's looked into anatomy will have seen at once that man is too complicated and that a good engineer could make him more simply. So young Rossum began to overhaul anatomy and tried to see what could be left out or simplified. In short -- but this isn't boring you, Miss Glory?
HELENA: No, on the contrary, it's awfully interesting.
DOMAIN: So young Rossum said to himself: a man is something that, for instance, feels happy, plays the fiddle, likes going for walks, and, in fact, wants to do a whole lot of things that aren't fully necessary.
HELENA: Oh!
DOMAIN: Wait a bit. That are unnecessary when he's wanted, let us say, to weave or count. Do you play the fiddle?
HELENA: No.
DOMAIN: That's a pity. But a working machine must not want to play the fiddle, must not feel happy, must not do a whole lot of other things. A petrol motor must not have tassels or ornaments, Miss Glory. And to manufacture artificial workers is the same thing as to manufacture motors. The process must be the simplest, and the product must be the best from a practical point of view. What sort of worker do you think is the best from a practical point of view?
HELENA: The best? Perhaps the one who is most honest and hard-working.
DOMAIN: No, the cheapest. The one whose needs are the smallest. Young Rossum invented a worker with the minimum amount of requirements. He had to simplify him. He rejected everything that did not contribute directly to the progress of work. He rejected everything that makes man more expensive. In fact, he rejected man and made the Robot. My dear Miss Glory, the Robots are not people. Mechanically they are more perfect than we are, they have an enormously developed intelligence, but they have no soul. Have you ever seen what a Robot looks like inside?
HELENA: Good gracious, no!
DOMAIN: Very neat, very simple. Really a beautiful piece of work.

The good czech Tradition









Jindřich Štyrský, Jiří Kolář, Jan Švankmajer, but also Jheronimus Bosch: a great of illustration, Miroslav Huptych works in the spirit of the best czech surrealist and collagist tradition.

Source:
Miroslav Huptych

There is nothing more beautiful than Absence









Having sex only with the voice;
A father who has lost memory of his past life and lives in an aged body;
Bodies dressed in strange clothes, metaphors of desires, frustrations, cruelty;
the photography by Phillip Toledano.

Source:
Phillip Toledano

The Insect Cameraman




Ladislaw Starewicz (1882-1965), born in Russia from Polish parents was a stop-motion animator who used insects and animals as his protagonists. Biologist, in 1920 he became director of the Natural History Museum in Kaunas. Inspired by the work of Emile Cohl he began producing nature documentaries about the lives of insects, experimenting with the use of live insects at first and then the animation of small articulated puppets created with the carcasses of dead insects.

The work of filmmaker and animator will accompany him throughout life, always influenced by his interest in the animals world and especially of the insects - also mediated through cultural references such as Aesop or the Roman de Renard - and a certain taste for the magics and dark humor. Important author, had a great influence on the cinema of animation following up to authors such as Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton.

A fun and easy Way to ask some important Questions







Kevin Van Aelst has been described as "a minimal artist photographer with a maximalist sense of humor." It's true.
He realizes his works - which he then photographs - with poor and easily found materials.
Through these objects, the artist creates "temporary", unusual and playful installations and illustrations. A fun and easy way to ask some important questions.

Source:
Kevin Van Aelst

A Slipperman









I’m in the agony of slipperpain
I pray my undercarriage will sustain.
The chase is on, the pace is hot
But I’m running so very hard with everything that I’ve got.

He leads me down an underpass
Though it narrows, he still flies very fast,
When the tunnel stops
Catch sight of the tube, just as it drops.

I’m on top of a bank too steep to climb
I see it hit the water just in time
To watch it float away.


Peter Gabriel, The Colony of Slippermen

Pilobolus









The Pilobolus dance company is named after a tiny hallucinogenic spore-spewing fungus, a small organism that can spread its spores up to eight feet away. Founded by Jonathan Wolken, Michael Tracy, Robby Barnett and Moses Pendleton (who some years later would give birth to Momix), Pilobolus began in 1970 as an experiment, as opening act before a Frank Zappa concert. This innovative dance company combines athleticism, grace and humor with an incomparable poetry.

Source:
Pilobolus

The Body is obsolete









It is time to question whether a bipedal, breathing body with binocular vision and a 1400cc brain is an adequate biological form. It cannot cope with the quantity, complexity and quality of information it has accumulated; it is intimidated by the precision, speed and power of technology and it is biologically ill-equipped to cope with its new extraterrestrial environment.

The body is neither a very efficient nor very durable structure. It malfunctions often and fatigues quickly; its performance is determined by its age. It is susceptible to disease and is doomed to a certain and early death. Its survival parameters are very slim - it can survive only weeks without food, days without water and minutes without oxygen.

The body's LACK OF MODULAR DESIGN and its overactive immunological system make it difficult to replace malfunctioning organs. It might be the height of technological folly to consider the body obsolete in form and function, yet it might be the height of human realisations. For it is only when the body becomes aware of its present position that it can map its post-evolutionary strategies.

It is no longer a matter of perpetuating the human species by REPRODUCTION, but of enhancing male-female intercourse by human-machine interface. THE BODY IS OBSOLETE. We are at the end of philosophy and human physiology. Human thought recedes into the human past.


Stelarc

Source:
Stelarc

Meat in a Butcher's Shop







Why Zhang Dali uses the bodies to communicate?

Zhang Dali has made these sculptures with the casts of the body of volunteers, migrant workers who live nearby of Beijing.
They are shown hanging upside down from ropes tied around their ankles as the meat in a slaughterhouse or a butcher's shop. As in limbo. These sculptures are living taxonomy an experiment on the living flesh of a society. A human species at a specific moment in history. A body that is been stripped of its soul.

Freaks




Born in 1880, Charles Albert Browning left home when he was only 16 and ran away with a travelling carnival. Legend has it that he started performing as a spieler and contortionist. He changed his name to ‘Tod’ Browning (tod is the German word for ‘death’). Browning performed as “the Living Hypnotic Corpse”, buried alive in a box with a secret ventilation system. People paid to watch ‘un-dead’ Tod in his coffin through a tube.
In 1913 Griffith split from Biograph and moved to California where worked as an assistant director Griffith’s Intolerance (where he even had a small role in the ‘modern story’ sequence) before he started as a director.
Based on the short story Spurs by Clarence Aaron "Tod" Robbins, the film Freaks (1932) concerns a love triangle between a wealthy dwarf, a gold-digging aerialist, and a strongman; a murder plot; and the vengeance dealt out by the dwarf.
The film was a flop and the reason for the Browning's professional fall.

Source:
Judgmental Observer, Vertigo Magazine

The massacre of the public body


When Carlos Aires talks about body is always associated with its trivial image, when the body is exposed to the merciless visual public (and politic) culture. The outcome can be surprising: for example you can see that those same images can reveal the horror of the uneasiness of the desiring body that, just as shown, is massacred and desecrated.
The image of the body occurs through pornography when private emotions are exposed to society.

Source:
Carlos Aires

Fear of the Unwinding

Hans Richter, The girl with the prefabricated heart - Dreams that money can buy, 1947

Conceived and directed by Hans Richter and produced by Peggy Guggenheim, Dreams that money can buy was filmed in New York and consists of six dada-surrealist episodes signed by Max Ernst, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Fernad Leger, Alexander Calder and Richter himself.
The Girl with the Prefabricated Heart is an eight-minute ballad, it tells the story of a made in assembly line, perfect woman, that refuses to join with a man, also created in a factory, for fear that the passion of their love could dissolve her wax body. Words and music by John Latouche, voice of Libby Holman.

Czech Surrealism


Jindřich Štyrský, Dream



Jindřich Štyrský, Untitled (from the series The movable cabinet)



Jindřich Štyrský, Marriage



Jindřich Štyrský, illustration for, Vítēzslav Nezval, Sexuálnì Nocturno, 1931

Jindřich Štyrský (1899, Čermná – 1942, Prague) was a Czech painter, poet, editor, photographer, and collagist.
Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, he been since 1923 member of Devētsil, since 1933 member of the Association of Fine Arts Mánes.
In the period 1925/28 he lived in Paris with Toyen (Marie Čermínová), where they founded their own movement, Artificialism.
Between 1928 and 1929 he was director of the group's drama wing, the Liberated Theater, where he collaborated with Vítēzslav Nezval – in the dance performance of his poetry collection Abeceda (Alphabet) among others. With Toyen, Henry Heisler e Karl Teige 1934 founded the Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia. He dead nel 1942 in Prague.

Source:
Dolorosa Reveries, Tarpaulin Sky