Machines in 20th-century Literature, Philosophy, and Cinema (Part 1) (Panel)


Italian / Interdisciplinary Humanities

Giorgia Bordoni (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

This panel aims to explore the machinic metaphor in the Italian and European literary, cinematographic and philosophical panorama of the 20th century. Since the Industrial Revolution, machines have established themselves as a crucial, pervasive and unavoidable presence of individual life and collective existence. The disturbing and fascinating vitality of the machine has shaped all social, political and economic relationships. Even the literary, cinematographic and philosophical space was crossed by the new myth of the machine and met its complexity: it refused or exalted it, let itself be inspired by it, analyzed its profound meaning. Experiencing the complex dialectic between human and machine, always tense between fascination and terror, literary and cinematographic invention as well as philosophical reflection have produced works of great aesthetic and theoretical value. If, according to Michel Carrouge, “the mythical mana has passed down from the ancient kingdoms of nature (human, animal, vegetable, mineral) to the mechanical kingdom”, this panel focuses on how Italian and European literature, cinema and philosophy dealt with the semantic constellation of such a new and current kingdom of machines.

This panel aims to explore the "machinic metaphor" and the creativity involving machines in the Italian and European 20th-century literary, cinematographic, and philosophical panorama.