“Man as Industrial Palace,” the 1926 Lithograph Depicting the Human Body as a Modern Factory, Comes to Life in a New Animation

In 1926, Fritz Kahn, a Ger­man gyne­col­o­gist and anato­my text­book author, pro­duced a lith­o­graph called Der Men­sch als Indus­triepalast (Man as Indus­tri­al Palace) that depict­ed the human body as a fac­to­ry, a chem­i­cal plant of sorts. Kah­n’s body came com­plete with mechan­i­cal lungs, a rock-sort­ing stom­ach, gears for a throat, and a switch­board for a brain, and it illus­trat­ed rather metaphor­i­cal­ly the degree to which indus­tri­al­iza­tion had tak­en over West­ern life, cre­at­ing deep anx­i­ety for some and curios­i­ty for oth­ers.

More than 80 years lat­er, Hen­ning Led­er­er, a Ger­man artist, has brought Kah­n’s mechan­i­cal body to life with some gift­ed ani­ma­tion. To learn more about Led­er­er’s project, you will want to spend more time on IndustriePalast.com and par­tic­u­lar­ly with this help­ful PDF. Oth­er ani­ma­tion by Led­er­er can be found on Vimeo.

An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post orig­i­nal­ly appeared on our site in 2011.

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