Rhetoric of Machine Aesthetics

Rhetoric of Machine Aesthetics

Rhetoric of Machine Aesthetics

Rhetoric of Machine Aesthetics

Synopsis

Brummett addresses the question of how the aesthetic experience of machines can have rhetorical influence. He develops a theory of machine aesthetics, showing nine dimensions of the aesthetic experience of machines and machine-like objects or activities. He identifies three general types of machine aesthetics: Mechtech, classical machine aesthetics based on hardware, gears, pistons, and so forth; Electrotech, high technology machine aesthetics based on the ability of electricity to put machinery on the human scale; and Chaotech, the aesthetic appeal of the decayed machine. In each case, rhetorical applications of the aesthetic are explored. A final critical application shows how the film Brazil warns its audience that fascism can be supported by simulations based on machine aesthetics.

Excerpt

Great technology is beautiful technology. -- David Gelerntner, 129

On a busy street just north of the inner city of Milwaukee is a new strip mail. Its "look" makes it stand out from among the usual stretch of office buildings and Burger Kings along that street. the stores are the expected mix of Walgreens, Office Depot, and so forth. But the exterior of each store is a smooth, geometric, metallic gray punctuated by enormous red steel girders emerging like a scaffolding from the exterior, industrial flying buttresses anchoring buildings to the parking lot. the whole mail looks like a factory fall of machines that might be set in motion by turning a switch, an enormous engine of commerce.

As I write this manuscript I find I am surrounded by rounded, flowing shapes, all of the same neutral light beige: my computer and its monitor, the printer standing next to it, a cordless telephone on a nearby shelf, and an electric spaceheater composed of a series of identical slim, standing, rounded rectangles with simple controls and switches on the face of the last pillar. Each quiet form hides a potent electric power to create, to communicate, to command my environment. They work, I know not how.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.