It is almost impossible to separate the ascendance of Modernism from the rise of the machine. In the long history of humanity, machines are a relatively new part of our story; it is only since the Industrial Revolution that they became integral to our everyday existence.
Today, human life is dependent on them. Modernism had a close relationship with machines. The early Modernists were fascinated by them and turned to them for both creative inspiration and practical use. As such, The Modern Age was built by machines, so it is only right that we turn our attention to the machine in this issue of the modernist.
We shall, therefore, look at some of the biggest machines on the planet, right down to some of the most humble. Bruce Peter looks back at the Queen Elizabeth 2 passenger ship which, in all its glamour, seems a world away from the tacky, mega-cruise ships 3 that cross the world’s oceans today. Sarah-Clare Conlon offers a poem to gigantic oil platforms of the North Sea, accompanied by the unique illustrative style of Him Hallows.
At the other end of the scale Phil Griffin tells a personal story of an Olivetti typewriter, a design classic in its own right, and Sapphire Goss turns her attention to the beauty of pre-digital cameras, both inside and out.
As well as the mechanical, we look at digital machines with James Reid’s photographs of supercomputers, while Amrit Randhawa considers the seemingly unstoppable rise of AI. Machines were once our servants, designed to make our lives easier. Now they are learning, and with knowledge becomes power.
Here, we celebrate the MACHINE in all its forms. Let’s hope our appreciation is remembered when they eventually become our overlords.