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Savinio drew upon theories of the relationship of electricity to the body, increasingly lifelike automata, psychoanalysis, and techniques of embalming and petrification to offer new perspectives for exploring liminal spaces in between as well as alternatives to traditional binaries, and to articulate, in literary form, figures that may be in part considered reincarnations or updates of the mannequins of the Ferrarese metaphysical school of painting.

Since the end of the nineteenth century, emerging technologies from microscopes and telescopes to the X-ray, photography, and cinema had been pushing the limits of the visible; and scientific advancements like organ transplants challenged the notion of the human body as stable, integral, unique.

New technologies gave scientists increased capacity to simulate and give the illusion of life, as well as to detect, prolong, and possibly re create life. With applications of electricity to machines and to the body, it was becoming possible to create machines that resembled or approximated human movement and functions, and human bodies that performed like machines. While Savinio was not anti-science, what emerges in his writings from the late thirties and forties is a distinct skepticism about the figure of the scientist and a concern about the potential dehumanization of individuals for the sake of scientific inquiry or spectacle.

Moreover, the warning is not directed only against the authority figure. Rather, we — the reader and the public — are also implicated, in our willingness and haste to blindly grant any single Unifying Principle to that authority. The versions all share the same basic premise: the god Mercury, trapped in statue form, longs to become human so that he might die and pass from earthly immortality to much desired eternity.


Alberto Savinio’s Hybrid Bodies: Incorporating Science and Techne - Italian Modern Art

Each version also includes a scientist who describes in fairly elaborate detail his particular electrical theory of the body, composite versions of contemporary theories which allude variously to animal magnetism, electrotherapy techniques, and popular comparisons of the human body to a battery and of the nervous system to communication and electrical networks, which identify the brain as the power center. In these reanimation scenes from the later versions, Doctor Speranza and his assistant Doctor Zero have reassured a woman that they can bring her husband, who inadvertently shot himself, back to life.

In the short film synopsis, the doctor, like his visitors, is dismayed not only at the horrific scene, but also because his experiment has failed: production of physical movement alone cannot be considered life i. The scene ultimately ends with the automata-experiments trampling Doctor Speranza. In La nostra anima , a Doctor Sayas takes Nivasio Dolcemare a recurrent Savinian alter ego and his partner on a tour of a bizarre museum, in which the scientist explains to the visitors that they are in a type of wax museum, except that, instead of wax, here the figures are made of flesh.

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Through the process of contextualizing and reworking this traditional myth, Savinio also wove in contemporary theories of the mind, especially inspired by the field of psychoanalysis: it is a tale of Psyche and psyche and anima. At first the coverage of the new therapy was not widespread, but by the early forties it was becoming more extensive, as the fascist regime sought to hail these two scientists as representative of the Italian genius.


So, the sense is that this embalming is meant to last — ideally not only to slow, but indeed to halt the normal processes of decomposition. As an old man, Padreterno uses his embalming skills to realize his dream project: a version of Earthly Paradise within which all plants and animals are perfectly preserved. He promptly kills them and embalms them to complete his Garden of Eden. And just as this thought comes to him, Nivasio abandons his attempt to solve the mystery, to determine whether she is alive or machine.

There remains to be unveiled the mystery of his life which continues even after the death of the body, of this light that burns even after the destruction of the lamp. But does not Mr. Besides, it would be useless to try to penetrate this mystery by starting from the current principles of the means of knowing the nature of things. The puerile, Nietzschean procedure would leave us with a mere duplication of the error that clouds the human spirit. Man thinks badly because he thinks in circles.

He always returns to the same thoughts and he takes for new thoughts the other face of thoughts already thought. That is classical though.

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  • Closed thought. Conservative thought. Thought that, as its own centre, finds God. Our ways of knowing the nature of things cannot penetrate the mystery of the Psyche, the mystery of the anima.

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    Whether she is alive or machine is not the fundamental question, as the contraposition of artificial and natural sets up a false binary, and leaves us trapped within circular thinking. Savinio saw the circle not as a form of perfection, but as a prison 34 — and a prison that traps people in the inhuman condition of immortality instead of allowing for the most human and desired death umanissima morte.

    One primary distinction, it may be argued, is that the artist does not directly re produce life and death, but offers a poetic version or interpretation of it; the scientist, as Savinio represents him in these works, instead operates directly on the human body and mind, positioning himself as arbiter of life and death, manipulator of human movement and expression. Savinio considered the figures of both the scientist and the artist — specifically in the roles they assume in the treatment and representation of the human and in their function as mediators and creators of worlds — architects of animation and immobility, transformation and preservation.

    Nelle sue Gelati Fanzine Festival, il primo ed unico festival genovese dedicato all'editoria indipendente e all'illustrazione, torna anche quest'anno dal 10 al 19 giugno. Marta ha frequentato il Liceo Artistico e sta per conseguire la laurea presso I sui lavori, principalmente analogici, si esprimono come flussi di coscienza e scenari onirici, Nelle moderne scienze Appassionata "dell'immagine", al liceo riempiva intere cartelline di immagini prese da riviste.

    Judith realizza collage dai toni dissonanti e Dopo essersi laureato in Grafica e illustrazione ha lavorato in diversi settori Ha conseguito nel un master in Art Practice presso il Goldsmiths College Giacomo Rossi. Apollo, Erato, Muses, nymphs, Terpsichore. Alcina Sorceresses Alcina and her sister , magic ring, magic island, underworld spirits. Men previously transformed into animals are changed back again.

    La lampada di Psiche

    Atalanta Mercury, Graces, cupids. Giustino ["Justin"] Fortune, unearthly voice, sea monster. Saul Libretto attributed to Charles Jennens? Witch of Endor summons up spirit of the prophet Samuel. Semele Hercules Hercules, nymphs, Furies. Apollo, Flora, zephyr. Libretto Giacomo Francesco Bussani, after? Sorceress Alcina , magic ring, magic island, winged horse. Libretto Scipione Maffei.

    Juno, Aeolus, nymph Licoris. Libretto Pietro Pariati, after Ovid. Diana, Apollo, Cupid, Mercury, nymph Daphne, transformed into a laurel tree. Sorceress Alcina , Megaera Fury , sea monster, Furies, spirits, ghosts. Elisa Libretto Pietro Pariati, after Virgil. Venus, Cupid, Hymen. Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Cupid, Graces, cupids. Libretto Domenico Filippo Contini. Libretto Carlo Sigismondo Capece, after Homer.

    Sorceress Circe , sailors previously transformed into trees are changed back again , underworld spirits. Thetis, centaur Chiron , Glory, Love, Time. Marcello, Benedetto Italy Arianna ["Ariadne"]? Libretto Vincenzo Cassani, after Ovid. Bacchus, Ariadne transformed into a star constellation , satyrs, fauns. Libretto Ignazio Mancini. Devil, angel. Includes Venus, Apollo. Tom Thumb , ghost. Magician, Bacchus, Euphrosyne, Comus god of pleasure , river goddess, nymphs, spirits, pastoral divinities, naiads.

    Spirits, nymph.

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    Dragon, sea monster. Libretto Louis Fuzelier. Hebe, Cupid, Bellona war goddess , cupids, Pleasures, sports. The Pyrenees collapse; a Temple of Love arises. Libretto Louis de Cahusac, after Egyptian legends. Osiris vegetation god , Canopus water god , Horus god of the arts. Libretto Louis de Cahusac.

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    Libretto Louis de Cahusac, after Greek legend. Zoroastre ["Zoroaster"] Magician, Vengeance, heavenly voice, spirits, demons. Fairy, genie, evil spirits, magic talisman. Jupiter, Osiris. Libretto anon, after Greek legend. Zephirus, nymph, breezes.