Dr. Fritz Kahn – Man Machine

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Berlin based Dr. Fritz Kahn, active in the 1920’s and 30’s, illustrated these machinery inspired images of the human body.

For thousands of years human beings have used metaphors as ways of understanding the body. We talk about our ‘ear drums’, or our ‘mind’s eye’. When we are in love we say our hearts are ‘bursting’ or ‘broken’. When we are nervous we say we have ‘butterflies in our stomach’. When we are impatient we have ‘itchy feet’. These familiar images help to explain the unfamiliar and to comprehend the complexity of our bodies.

Fritz Kahn’s books and illustrations explored the inner machinery of the human body, using metaphors of modern industrial life. Kahn turned the brain into a complex factory with light projectors, conveyor belts, secretaries and cinema screens; he showed the journeys of blood cells as locomotives encircling the globe; and he compared bones to modern building materials such as reinforced concrete.

via United States National Library of Medicine, The British Library

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