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June 23, 2011

Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace)

From Abigail Zuger's story in Tuesday's New York Times about an exhibition of health-related posters at the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

The star of the show may be the single image intended neither to cajole nor to terrify but to educate and amuse. The five-volume anatomy and physiology textbook that the German physician Fritz Kahn brought out in the 1920s was illustrated with a poster-size folding color plate [below]

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depicting "Man as Industrial Palace," a work that combines the Lilliputian charms of "Where’s Waldo?," Willy Wonka's factory, the world's best dollhouse and a really good pinball game.

Up in the chambers of the brain, two groups of tiny men in suits and ties deliberate around small conference tables: they are, of course, Will and Reason. Nearby a lone fellow in shirtsleeves and headphones operates a telegraph: he is Hearing, while the photographer one cubicle over is Sight.

Gears move particles of food along the alimentary tract, aided by tiny workers with rakes and cauldrons of digestive enzymes. Down in Bone Marrow a solitary artisan stamps out red blood cells.

It is an image begging to be animated, and the contemporary German designer Henning M. Lederer has done just that, in a short film [top] looping alongside the actual lithograph. There is no need to travel to Philadelphia for this particular pleasure, though; Mr. Lederer's utterly irresistible creation is online at http://www.vimeo.com/6505158.

June 23, 2011 at 05:01 PM | Permalink


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