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The Design of the Mechanics; or, Sentiments Replicated in Clockwork

The Design of the Mechanics; or, Sentiments Replicated in Clockwork

Chapter:
(p.128) Four The Design of the Mechanics; or, Sentiments Replicated in Clockwork
Source:
Androids in the Enlightenment
Author(s):
Adelheid Voskuhl
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226034331.003.0004

This chapter examines the mechanics of two automata in two ways. First, it analyzes their clockworks to uncover correspondences between individual mechanical modules and the effects they bring about in the moving android. The analysis also gives insight into other parts of the automata's history, such as the exceptional skill that went into designing and building them; key similarities and differences between the two; choices that the artisans made as to where to devote most of their technical skill and effort; conflicts between artistic and mechanical principles that the artisans solved; and social and economic functions that the automata served in their makers' lives. The chapter then explores the automata's mechanical performance as a cultural scenario in its own right. This scenario's connotations and valences are examined in three contexts: at music-making women in the eighteenth century, at the role of sentiments in music, and finally at the general social and political relevance of sentiments.

Keywords:   android automata, clockworks, artisans, mechanical performance, cultural scenario, music-making women, sentiments, eighteenth century

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