This comment was written by HAVC 135B on 15 Aug 2016.

HAVC 135B : German Art 1905-1945

How did artists and the German public responding to technology and modern living.? In what ways were these responses ambivalent or sometimes contradictory?

The technological advances in modern Germany were viewed as ambivalent and contradictory at the same time. Some welcomed technology while others feared it. Ideas like, “Will machines replace humans?” reveals some of these fears. Modernism brought on by advances in technology was a break from the traditional which led to the ideas of a corrupt society and this naturally causes fears for Germany, especially in the midst of an identity crisis due to WW1. Some saw technology as a supporter of war with the invention of war machines and chemical warfare. The Dadist used technology/media to its advantage by using print media to spread the brutal realities of war, and injustices of institutions and in academic art. In the movie Metropolis one can see the paradoxes and contradictions for technological at this time. Metropolis was the city of the future. “The intermediary between hand and brain is the heart” is a metaphor to modernity and technology. The “machine” (technology) carried both fascination and terror. The “machine” fueled and controlled this beautiful advance city at the expense or devotion of its workers in quiet submission under its authority (Movie opens with workers sacrificing to this “machine” by feeding it with their lives) and in the “wrong” hands; this “machine” caused a revolution between all those who relied upon it. This city needs technology or it will perish. As long as the hand and heart worked together technology will work for Modernist Germany.


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