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The poetics of automation

Abstract : This article compares two examples of industrial patronage in the late 1950s. The first is the 1958 filming of Le Chant du styrène by filmmaker Alain Resnais, with a voiceover of a poem by Raymond Queneau, with funding from the Péchiney firm. The second is the 1959 exhibition Forces et rythmes de l’industrie (“Forces and Rhythmes of Industry”) by painter Reynold Arnould, organized with funding from 12 major French companies. We show how similar these two operations were, from two perspectives: first, the logic behind arts patronage for major firms of the time, and second, the esthetic and social issues at stake for the representation of industry in the context of the debate on automation. An historic and esthetic analysis of Resnais’ film and Arnould’s canvases provides an opportunity to discuss the societal concerns of this period of accelerated industrial development in Europe in the 1950s. We then look at the perspective of these artists in light of the work of sociologists from this period, who were conducting fieldwork in the same factories that Resnais filmed and Arnould painted.
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Gwenaële Rot, François Vatin. The poetics of automation. Cogent, Art & humanities, 2017. ⟨hal-02187916⟩



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