Category Archives: Technological Object

Technological Object: Polygraph

John Hawkins’s Polygraph In its relation to words like ‘copious’ and ‘cornucopia’, the word ‘copy’ still harbours the suggestion of spilling abundance. But the almost demonic ease in which copies – of texts, images, objects, melodies – may now be … Continue reading

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Technological Object: MRI Machine

Siemens’s Magnetom family of Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines all have musical names: Rhapsody, Symphony, Allegra, Sonata, Harmony, Concerto, and the Trio pictured above. Perhaps this tries to gloss over the intimidating sonic assault that awaits the patient. In Don DeLillo’s … Continue reading

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Technological Object: Midwifery Manikin

“This was a wooden statue, representing a woman with child, whose belly was of leather, in which a bladder full, perhaps, of small beer, represented the uterus,” quipped the English midwife Elizabeth Nihell in reference to the teaching manikin used … Continue reading

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Technological Object: Coin-Operated Machine

Nathanael West’s Claude in The Day of the Locust (1939) reflects with a whimsical pessimism, that: Love is like a vending machine … You insert a coin and press home the lever. There’s some mechanical activity inside the bowels of … Continue reading

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Technological Object: Sewing Machine

In C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), the most technological inhabitants of Narnia turn out to be, unsurprisingly, the Beavers. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are impressed by the fine dam constructed by Mr Beaver, … Continue reading

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Technological Object: Railroad Handcar

Early on in Tintin’s first adventure — Tintin au Pays des Soviets (1929-1930) — Hergé’s roving reporter finds himself mixed up in several railway-related scrapes. Having survived a Bolshevik bomb and a near-miss on a German level crossing, Tintin and … Continue reading

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Technological Object: Carousel Slide Projector

In the last episode of AMC network Mad Men season 1 (2007) Don Draper (John Hamm) introduces a campaign for the Carousel Slide Projector. His pitch to Kodak clients is predicated on affect: ‘Technology is a glittering lure, but there’s … Continue reading

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Technological Object: Stereopticon

At the June 1865 meeting of the Philadelphia Photographic Society, an account was given of a stereopticon ‘entertainment’ at which a member of the society had recently been present. ‘The audience,’ the speaker said, ‘was a model audience, so quiet … Continue reading

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Technological Object: Player Piano

At the start of his short, autobiographical History of the Player (1913), American inventor John McTammany gives the reader a melodramatic warning: it was in the midst of hellish surroundings, while convalescing upon a cot in a military hospital in … Continue reading

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Technological Object: Drone

Model (1:72 scale) MQ-1 Predator equipped with Hellfire missiles, somewhere in the region of real hands.   I’ve chosen to write on ‘unmanned aerial vehicles’ (UAVs – commonly known as ‘drones’) as objet du mois because they draw together aspects … Continue reading

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