Rube Goldberg.A fantasy world. And a fantasy not always in harmony with reality. W.C. Fields used to say “blame it on inertia” The inertia, the near fear and terror is technology in conflict with the established aesthetic rules of the past; rules which no longer seemed pertinent in this age of mass media, the emergence of radio, on the cusp with television and the destruction of war.Rube Goldberg saw, like the avant gardists, and even behavioral scientists like Skinner and Reich, that technology would both embrace the individual and threaten them simultaneously.
Within this, there was some new emancipatory potential in which the passive spectator was no longer a mere spectator. A technological version of Antonin Artaud’s The Theatre and its Double; a parallel matrix where the individual can apply , shape or modify in a form of control over destiny at various junctures of their life performance through some form of devices- buttons, levers,- virtual or real.
aAlthough Goldberg allegedly held a contrarian attitude to post-Duchamp art, Analytic cubism of Picasso, Abstract expressionism etc. where traditional figurative was essentially annihilated in an act of nihilistic abandon, he was sensitive to modern aesthetics and like Duchamp or Jean Tinguely with his kinetic sculptures made from discarded objects, knew that art could no longer be isolated from everyday life and there was a certain intrinsic satire to the connection of aesthetics and satire, a kind of absurdity where even the avant gard art would conceptually also be completing the mundane task, the banal object in the service of practical function as an Orgone Box of Wilhelm Reich or a Skinner Box…
we face a parallel situation to that of Rube Goldberg’s day. In the early 1900′s, society was caught up in the controversy between the benefits of technology versus the increasing dependency on new machines. There was mistrust, reluctance to change, and a disparity between the few who were financially able to adopt the new technology and the general masses. There were gadgets galore, and Rube Goldberg was fascinated with the modern conveniences. He was a great satirist and saw the humor in it all….
Rube Goldberg spent 55 years drawing cartoons of machines and contraptions. His cartoons depicted simple household items, connected in funny but logical ways to perform a simple task. For instance, his cartoon invention of an automatic garage door opener used a bathtub, a flower, a bumblebee and an athlete. He had an extraordinary style and worked over 30 hours on each invention cartoon. The result was always another magnificent work of fine lines and great attention to detail.
Rube Goldberg believed that most people preferred doing things the hard way instead of using a more simple and direct path to accomplish a goal. In the words of the inventor, the machines were a “symbol of man’s capacity for exerting maximum effort to achieve
mal results.” His drawings became so well known that Webster’s Dictionary defined the term rube goldberg as “accomplishing by extremely complex, roundabout means what seemingly could be done simply.” Read More:http://www.mousetrapcontraptions.com/history-4.html