Published on March 13, 2014
Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion Mert Kulaksız 25.02.2014 Where Goes To Daily ID 501 Advanced Project Development in Industrial Design Middle East Technical University, Department of Industrial Design
OUTLINE INTRODUCTION Anonymous History MOVEMENT Movement: The Classical and Medieval Attitude The Fourteenth Century, First to Represent Movement The Nineteenth Century and Capturing the Movement THE CREED OF PROGRESS ASPECTS OF MECHANIZATION Invention and the Miraculous The Miraculous and the Utilitarian The Mechanizing of Production Profile of the Decades CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION POINTS
INTRODUCTION In Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History, Giedion deals with the split between thought and feeling that existed in his time and presumably still does in our times. He aims to show how this break came about, by investigating one important aspect of our life: mechanization. This split is the concern of the human aspect, which is fundamental and cannot be disregarded. In order to understand the dynamics controlled mechanization and its relation to human, he refers to anonymous history and focuses not solely on facts, but on relationships bounding them together. “History is a magical mirror. Who peers into it sees his own image in the shape of events and developments. It is never stilled. It is ever in motion, like the generating observing it. “(pp. 2) Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
MOVEMENT “Ever in flux and process, reality cannot be approached directly. Reality is too vast, and direct means fail”(pg 14) Giedion gives an important place to ‘movement’ since for him it underlies all mechanization. Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
Movement: The Classical and Medieval Attitude “Our thinking and feeling in all ramifications are fraught with the concept of movement. We owe our understanding of the world to the Greeks.”(pp. 14) Giedion highlights the difference between Ancient approach and his modern time’s approach regarding to understanding movement. “Ancients had a balanced formulation for thought and feeling. It is was even visible in their templates that symbolizes forces in equilibrium. However, starting with the Gothic ages, the balance is not protected and thought has overwhelmed the feeling. This was also evident in the architecture of Gothic cathedrals with their soaring verticals.” “Parallel in the time, the Scholastic become ever more concerned with explaining the nature of movement.” Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
The 14th Century, First representation of Movement “…Aristotelian fashion from the general investigation of the qualities and quantities of the object. Oresme seeks insight into the changing intensity of quality.”(pp. 16) The first representation of movement graphically by Nicolas Oresme is one of the earliest example of scientific way of understanding movement. It’s important since the Aristotelian-scholastic conception is largely overwhelmed by scientific reasoning. Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion Oresme, N. (1350). Graphique du Mouvement . Retrieved from http://www.anupark.net/corea/web/architect/non_main.htm
The 19th Century and Capturing the Movement Organic Movement in Graphic Form, c.1860 “The 19th Century makes the great leap and literally learns to feel the pulse of nature.”(pp. 17) Étienne-Jules Marey is an important figure in this century to represent organic form into graphic form. “Movement, movement in all its form – in the blood stream, in the stimulated muscle, in the gait of the horse, in aquatic animals and molluscs, in the flight of insects and the birds – was the ever returning burden of Marey’s research.” Mary, É, J. (1868). Marey’s sphygmograph. Retrieved from http://www.hindawi.com/journals/crp/2011/164832/fig5/ Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
The 19th Century and Capturing the Movement Visualization of Movement in Space, c.1880 The ‘true’ nature of movement is rendered by Marey, which was often invisible to the human eye. “These simple realities, normally hidden to human eye, have an impressiveness that needs no further explanation.”(pp. 22) “More significant were Marey’s earlier experiements, with the portrayal of movement in its own right, detached from the performer. “ (pp. 24) Movement detached from the performer and movement for its own sake are important scientific progress and structures which will be reflected upon the future understanding of mechanization of production. Mary, É, J. (1872). Retrieved from http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_KMqOPeCgoT0/TTsN7c3HVgI/AAAAAAAAKu8/ pbODuM1Ug00/s1600/Etienne-Jules%2BMarey-Bird-Flight.jpg Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
The 19th Century and Capturing the Movement Movement Investigated A line leads from the 14th Century until Frank B. Gilbreth, who detached the human movement from its bearer or subject achieved its precise visualization in space and time. Oresme Descartes Marey Gilberth Gilbreth was an innovator in the field of scientific management. A new realm opens: new forms, new expressive values, transcending the domain of engineer. Movement, the endlessly changing, proves itself ever more strongly the key to our thought. A this point a serious doubt highlighted once again, regarding processing thought into the emotional domain. Theologian, Philosopher Mathematician, Philosopher Physiologist Production Engineer Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
THE CREED OF PROGRESS “The ancients perceived the world as eternally existing self-renewing, whereas we perceive it as created and existing within temporal limits; that is, world is determined toward a specific purpose.” (pp. 30) “In the 19th Century, this specific purpose assumed to be defined by industry and mechanization is seen not as what was made of it, what it might become. “ “For Henri de Saint-Simon, industry is the great liberator which will sweep away nationalism and militarism. An army of workers will surround the world and the exploitation of man by man will disappear.” (pp. 30) This euphoric creed revealed itself in the first of the world exposition and it is manifested as world peace and of industrial co-operation. As it is assumed being in the onset of ‘the New Industrial Revolution”, as we carry the similar intention and euphoric feeling towards it, the creed of progress and its real outcome can be a good example to study. Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
THE CREED OF PROGRESS In the second half of the 19th century, the creed of progress changed its direction to the possible benefits of free market. “Evolution is now interchangeably with the progress, and natural selection with the results of the free competition” (pp. 31) The outcome of this attitude is that the belief in progress is replaced by faith in production. The question, whether ‘the New Industrial Revolution’ has the similar structure, can be asked at this point. With the domestication of production, what are going to be produced and with which purpose we are going to produce them? It’s important to figure out, because the situation in 19th resulted with the alienation human aspect from the production. Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
ASPECTS OF MECHANIZATION “Mechanization, as envisaged and realized in our epoch, is the end product of a rationalistic view of the world. Mechanizing production means dissecting work into its component operations.” (pp. 31) Division of labor is stated as one of the most important aspect of mechanization. Before get into details with division of labor, Giedion mentions about an significant fragment in in the half of the 16th Century. “Mechanization could not become a reality in the age of guilds. But social institution change as soon as the orientation changes. The guilds became obsolete as soon as the realistic view became dominant moved continually toward utilitarian goals. “(pp. 32) Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
The Mechanizing of Production “To carry through the mechanization of production, another class of inventors, another class of doers, another sociological conditions, and another textile proved necessary.” (pp. 37) The road to mass production cannot be achieved with the rare materials. That is why the mechanization of production, after reaching the necessary technological developments, did not occur through ‘silk’ which was a luxurious material for luxurious class. It was the affordable and abundant cotton, as Giedion stated, that gave rise to the mechanization of production came from the proletarian class. It was not result of an academic study, nor the initiative of government. It has put into practice by a type of entrepreneur, whose members share the common stereotypes: - climbing from the below - having will to conquer - feared no financial risk or danger as they have nothing to lose Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
Profile of the Decades the ‘Sixties 1860s are the foreshadow of the time of full mechanization. It was the period of A collective fervor of invention was evident. The inventive that formerly takes shape in the minds of scholars, philosophers and savants swayed to the masses. The activity of anonymous inventor was evident. Anonymously and inconspicuously the old tools were transformed into modern instrument. Can this era be interpreted as the corresponding historical are of today’s on the verge of new industrial revolution? Everyone invented, whoever owned an enterprise sought ways and means by which to make his goods more speedily, more perfectly and often of improved beauty. Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
Profile of the Decades The Time of Full Mechanization, 1918-1939 The period between the two World Wars is designated as the time of full mechanization. The characteristic of this period is the mechanization of everyday life. It is obvious that the mechanization affected living from its onset in the early 18th Century. Yet the influence was limited in terms of areas it effected and the degree of penetration. Now, as Giedion stated, mechanization involves the domestic sphere, the kitchen, the bath, their equipment… “The time of full mechanization is identical with the time of the tin can” (pp. 42) Mechanization of nutrition comes accordingly with the mechanization of kitchen. The basic human need is now met with processed or ready-made food. Multi-sensorial mechanization is emerged. Mechanization implanted itself into the very center of human psyche. For eye( the cinema, the television), for ear( the phonograph, the radio), for emotions… With the introduction of automobile, mechanized domestic life is mobilized. Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
DISCUSSION POINTS “The coming period must bring order to our minds, our production, our feeling, our economic and social development. It has to bridge the gap that, since the onset of mechanization, has split our modes of thinking and our modes of feeling.“ This has been stated by Giedion for the 19th Century Industrial Revolution. Should our main intention to fill this gap? Where will the domestication of production stand? A free time activity that working class will engage after work? In which ways domestication of production can provide an ideal, unified, progressive and heroic imagery of technology? How can we integrate spiritual needs of an object with the domestication of production? Clearly it has a lot to offer since the gap between maker and user will be shorten. As it is assumed being in the onset of ‘the New Industrial Revolution”, as we carry the similar intention and euphoric feeling towards it, the creed of progress and its real outcome; can be a good example to study? Can mentioned guild system and its power in 16th Century be a source to investigate, especially in terms of localization of production, regarding the ‘Where Goes the Daily” project. Springs of Mechanization, Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History Sigfried Giedion
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