Dreams of (Human) Machines

Nicola Behrmann (German)

This seminar examines the role of machines and automatons in regard to the modernist crisis of representation, the fantasy of artificial procreation, and the connection between art and life. We will investigate the way in which Friedrich Nietzsche’s typewriter influenced his writing, accompany Rainer Maria Rilke’s Malte Laurid Brigge on his visit to the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris (excerpts), read Franz Kafka’s horror story "In the Penal Colony," travel to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see Marcel Duchamp’s famous installation The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), try to make sense of Dadaist poems and André Breton’s Surrealist concept of “automatic writing,” and watch Fritz Lang’s famous silent movie Metropolis (1927) and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982).