The Divinity of the Machine

Phil Aitken Part of CW18

This article is an extract from my PhD. In my research I considered the primacy of meaning, consumption and the divinity of the machine. The era of interest was the machine age. This was an era of rapid scientific and technological development, declining religiosity, and the acknowledgement of the individual in western culture. Considering the enormity of this paradigmatic change, I consider the notion that the machine has paramount importance, not only in preserving, sustaining, and advancing humanity but also in the deepening process of how we construct meaning and spirituality in a mass–production and mass–consumption society. I suggest that perhaps the machines producing our items of consumption have taken on a divine importance within adapting cultural systems and continued technological advancement. In this extract, I considered how some 20th century artists have utilised and considered the machine in their work and how a sense of the divine can be applied to the machine.