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The Return of Wonder: Speculative Robotics and Re-enchanting the Machine

The Return of Wonder: Speculative Robotics and Re-enchanting the Machine

Treva Pullen / Canada
OCAD University
Paper
http://trevapullen.com

This paper tracks the critique/reconfiguration of wonder as a mode of critical engagement, with our contemporary condition and the current philosophical paradigm shift towards theorizing the nonhuman; a resurgence in speculative wonder. Comparing the aesthetic language and actions of the Steve Daniels’ robotic art work Device for the Elimination of Wonder, 2015, this text unpacks the historical shift from enchantment during the pre- Enlightenment period towards the post-Enlightenment disenchantment of magic, wonder and speculative fiction. Employing Daniels’ Device as a metaphor for an evolution of theory this text draws comparisons between contemporary philosophical trends and the lively, expressive and whimsical creations of robotic art.