The machine, over the course of the 20th century, progressively integrated itself into all fields of human activity, including artistic creation; and indeed, with the first decades of that century having established a surprisingly vital and wide-ranging series of perspectives on the relationship between art and the machine, certain artists in the wake of the Second World War no longer felt compelled to treat the machine as a mere theme or source of inspiration: the machine itself becomes art—unless it is art which seeks to become mechanical? The artist mutates into “artist-engineer”; and this transition, resonating within a specific historical context, leads not only to a questioning of the nature of the work itself, but also to a broader questioning which places us within the realm of anthropology: what is this art telling us about the actual conditions of contemporary human society, and what is it telling us about the future to which we aspire? It is the goal of this special issue of Arts
to stimulate an historically conscious, protean, and global (re)thinking of the cultural relationship between man and machine; and to this end, we welcome contributions falling anywhere within the nearly infinite spectrum represented by the prismatic period during the middle of the last century in which the machine became a legitimate artistic medium.
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