Studi Slavistici VIII • 2011

Miłość maszyn. Antynomie maszyny w polskim modernizmie

Published January 24, 2012
How to Cite
Ranocchi, E. (2012). Miłość maszyn. Antynomie maszyny w polskim modernizmie. Studi Slavistici, 8(1), 137-160.


Also for Polish modernism the machine comes to be a synecdoche of modernity as a whole. In contrast to the fetishistic approach to machines that characterized Italian futurism and to the economic utilitarian attitude of Russian futurism, which saw machines as an instrument of proletarian emancipation, in 1923 the leader and chief theoretician of Polish futurism, Bruno Jasieński, introduced (in Polish Futurism: a balance) the vision of the machine as a prosthesis, a continuation of the human body. This essay starts from Jasieński’s proposition and, by means of an aware?? anachronism, makes use of the 20th century categories of cyborgs to try to describe and interpret an extensive passage of the unique novel of a forgotten Polish writer from the period between the two World wars, Jerzy Sosnkowski. The novel in question is called A Car, You and Me (Love of Machines) and was published in 1925. Chapter VIII of the novel describes the main character’s dystopian dream about machines taking control over the world dooming the human race to extinction. Among 20th century cyborg categories, the ones that appear to be especially useful are those that cross the confines between human and machine and between human and animal. In this case we are dealing with machines described as huge animals. Although the machines theriomorphous shape seems to bypass man, they retain certain key features in common with us, such as sexual desire. Besides the cyborgs, another category (usually applied to man-machine resemblance) proved effective in trying to analyze Sosnkowski’s animal machines, an aesthetic and psychoanalytical one, that of the Uncanny. Although the dystopian character of the dream is due to the fact that machines have no feelings, hence their effectiveness and superiority over men, Sosnkowski seems to have had a foreboding of another possibility: an intelligent machine (in the novel represented by the main character’s car), which empathetically understands and realizes what the man is thinking and feeling. This intuition, which predicts current research into contemporary robotics, makes this text worth remembering.


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