Monday, January 22, 2007

Automatic Writing

There's a snippet of 'Gilt' on my site now. I can't publish the whole etext, but I've put up what I can.

Returning to the subject of dolls, I came across the perfect doll for the book via Jonathan Carroll's site. In brief:
  • it's called The Writer
  • it's from the 1770s
  • it was one of three automatons made by fancy watch/mechanical bird maker Jaquet Droz
  • there's debate over whether it should be considered an android or not
  • it can be programmed to write up to 40 characters
  • apparently the inventor used to get it to write 'Cogito ergo sum' to slag off Descartes
  • its head and eyes follow the text as it writes. Creepy.

    The Jaquet Droz business is now owned by Swatch.


Anonymous said...

oh my god that is so creepy. there goes sleep for a week.
where do you find this stuff?

love T

Orlaith said...

Isn't is bizarre! Jonathan Carroll mentioned it on his blog. The other two automatons Jaquet Droz made are equally unsettling - there's a piano player who you can see breathing as she plays, and a child who sketches, eyes following his work. For more weirdness see: (this one is more magical than menacing).