Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dreaming the Industrial Body

Fritz Kahn's Modernist Physiology

This manipulated photo shows the effects of sunlight on the health of the body.
click pics for high rez

In the early 20th century, Fritz Kahn produced a succession of books on the inner workings of the human body, using visual metaphors drawn from industrial society—assembly lines, internal combustion engines, refineries, dynamos, telephones, etc. The body, in Kahn’s work, was "modern" and productive, a theme visually emphasized through modernist artwork. Though his books sold well, his Jewishness, and public advocacy of progressive reform, made him a target for Nazi attacks. Rescued by American agent Varian Fry, along with other prominent Jewish scientists and intellectuals, he was brought to America in 1940.

Kahn’s modernist visualization of the digestive and respiratory system as "industrial palace," really a chemical plant, was conceived in a period when the German chemical industry was the world’s most advanced.

The nervous system here is visually compared to an electronic signaling system; the brain is an office where messages are sorted.


1 comment:

placeboKatz said...

learning anatomy and the german language at the same time. What an effective being you are :)

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