Saturday, May 8, 2010

R.U.R. or Romancing Ur Robot

The word robot is a 20th Century Czech invention. The playwright Karl Capek made it up for his play R.U.R or Rossum's Universal Robots. Of course automatons and moving effigies have been around since Ancient Egypt and flourished in the Late Antique world via the majestic inventions of Hero of Alexandria. The history of automata is something that I've found fascinating.
Go here to read about artificial life across the centuries.

But it is with the rise of the cinema that the ROBOT has come to live inside of us as a permanent archetype, as our modern sibling of the possible. It's late in the long 20th C. (and late in the semester)....

so here are some of Modernity's humanoid dynamos captured for our delight in "moving pictures." Someone has actually created an entire website tracking the history of robots in movies.

Metropolis (1926)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

Forbidden Planet (1956)

Demon Seed (1977)

The Stepford Wives (1975)

Recut Trailer

Blade Runner (1982)

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