Only now is technological reality catching up with the robots that have so long haunted science fiction. Leonardo da Vinci, whose art is arguably one huge experiment in science fiction, made a mechanical monster to impress the king of France in the early 1500s.
At the start of the 20th century, artists and writers became fascinated by the post-human: in 1913-15, Jacob Epstein imagined a terrifying droid in his sculpture The Rock Drill, and in 1920 the Czech writer Karel Capek wrote RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots).
This exhibition has everything from Renaissance automata to the latest attempts to replace ourselves.
Beyond the above the Science Museum launched a Kickstarter campaign to rebuild Eric, the UK’s first robot. Originally built in 1928 by Captain Richards & A.H. Reffell, Eric was one of the world’s first robots. Built less than a decade after the word robot was first used, he travelled the globe with his makers and amazed crowds in the UK, US and Europe, before disappearing forever.
Science Museum, London, 8 February–3 September 2017.
[Source: Science Museum]