In XVIII century, some Neuchâtel’s watchmakers employed own know-how about the automatic mechanisms, in order to realize automatons.
They were born then, for example, the Henri-Louis Jaquet-Droz’s animated dolls: la Musicienne, le Dessinateur and l’Écrivain, everyone of which able to exhibit itself perfectly in own art.
The example had come from France, where Jacques de Vaucanson, the inventor of the chassis automatic rifle, had realized a piper automaton and, above all, a mechanical duck, able to eating grain, drink water, then digesting and to expel the relative faeces.
The exhibition “Corpo Automi Robot, tra arte, scienza e tecnologia” (“Body Automatons Robot, between art, science and technology”), by Polo Culturale Lugano, that I’ve visited in February, exposed, with the other things, these relics of the Past too. The topic was so wide, that the exhibition it has been divided in two locations: a technological section, in Villa Ciani, inside the city park on the lake, and an artistic section, in the Museo d’Arte.
Beside the automatons of eighteenth century, the reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s forerunner models (coming from the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica of Milan) and the contemporary realizations, like those of François Junod (the Cheval and the acting androids of the theatrical pièce “Robots”) and the Jean Tinguely’s metamechanics machines. At last, the cybernetic project “Swarmanoid” by the Lausanne’s
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale and the CNR of Rome: 60 robots, divided between
someones self-moving, others climbers, others flying, able to coordinating themselves and acting like a single mechanism.
Visiting this exhibition, where nearly every piece seemed to animate of life own, I’ve thought about the many robots of sci-fi novels of my adolescence, when it was believed that, in the XXI century, the robots would have been anywhere, while the computers, in the case, would have been alone on some spaceship. The telephones, nobody had never considered them. The future has been differently.
It’s a sin to have not met the Blade Runner’s replicant Roy Batty and the Ghost in the Shell’s cyborg Motoko Kusanagi.