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Hugo

by on October 21, 2012

When looking at the work of Jaquet Droz a few weeks ago and his extraordinary miniature automaton it made me think about the Martin Scorcese film Hugo. Whilst slightly off topic to what we were discussing this week I still find it very interesting that automaton are still a big part of today’s film and television scene.

Although Hugo is set in a surreal past in Paris the film was made in 2011 and was praised for its stunning 3D work, whilst also being in my opinion a very good piece of cinema with something of a stellar cast. As we can see from the automaton in the film it was clearly based upon Droz’s draughtsman but in the film it is made to not look human. Thinking of the uncanny valley I would argue that the automaton in Hugo is actually more comfortable to look at and the less lifelike it is the more okay it is for people. The mimesis of life is too un-lifelike for it to make us uncomfortable as I’m pretty sure Droz’s automaton do. In a way the automaton in the film reminds me more of Anthony Gormley’s beach installation which Alex blogged about last week than of humans as Droz’s were meant to represent.

In this way it brings me back to thinking of the means of objects performing and in this instance it is the function of the automaton which is it’s performance and consequently sets things into motion in the film.

Worth a watch if you have the time.
Andrew

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