Monday, January 22, 2007

A colleague of mine at Temple writes in...

Gabe Cutrufello, a San Diego State University English graduate program alum and a doctoral student at Temple University, writes in with a cool link:

"Here's something you may be interested in--you may have seen this, maybe not: video of a 1772 wind-up writing automaton. Creepy as hell. Cool as shit. Gabe"

Cutrufello's contribution is utterly appreciated--may the automaton gods bless him with visits of their ilk (an afficionado of Philip K. Dick, Cutrufello's work in the area of ersatz humans is sure to shake things up in criticism in the near future.

Similar suggestions for posts are appreciated. Just email me at


  1. Anonymous2:36 PM

    um, with apologies i (like you) shall reduce the terrible beauty of our email rhetoric to scatological shards (if there’s no intrinsic, unalterable meaning to any given act, and actions require context for human intelligibility, then supplying a narrative, no matter how unintelligible, is necessary to render utterances intelligible, nicht wahr?)—please laugh if you will:
    consider the girl as a rhetorical device employing/exploiting plurisignation as a resource of connotation, i.e. just what the f… is happening?! there’s no “real” culmination beyond a big dummy sitting in a lawn chair, so why does “she” move me?!!
    coupled with her 50’s garb, the simulacrum of idealized innocence the incarnation of a little/giant girl walking alone through the park licking a lollipop offers a fresh juxtaposition of clichés and symbols borrowed from the past visible world that is nevertheless symbolically resonant and is intended to invoke a feeling of nostalgia (i’m also thinking of romantic notions, e.g. reconciliation of oppositional imagery, etc., not only in the size differentiation of a physical walking puppet with humans promenading less than knee high, but also in the juxtaposition of a puppet—recall puppets and their shows, comprising one of the oldest forms of theater, can traditionally be quite mischievous—w/ implied innocence). even the puppeteers are traditionally dressed, albeit more archaically, and like the ersatz girl may themselves be considered as social signs exemplifying the very social structure in which they are producing this titanic string-pawn (by the way, turn the sound off and watch it to get a sense of the power of music as subtext)...
    also, and perhaps more significant for me, is the moment when two “real” human girls straddle the arms of the oversized ersatz and undergo “her” gaze. here the event becomes structurally complementary to emphasizing and complicating just who is representing whom between subject/artist/viewer.

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  3. The comments here refer to this posting here

  4. Julie9:16 AM

    Coincidentally this writing, porcelaine-looking doll is French as is the little girl giant we watched in class. It's an interesting contradiction to me that this doll and the marionette are both so realistic and able to mimic so thoroughly human actions, but that they also have a very obvious doll-like appearance.