Inside the Machine (Hardcover)
Art and Invention in the Electronic Age
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393083590, 272pp.
Publication Date: August 17, 2015
A hidden history of the twentieth century's brilliant innovations--as seen through art and images of electronics that fed the dreams of millions.
A rich historical account of electronic technology in the twentieth century, Inside the Machine journeys from the very origins of electronics, vacuum tubes, through the invention of cathode-ray tubes and transistors to the bold frontier of digital computing in the 1960s.
But, as cultural historian Megan Prelinger explores here, the history of electronics in the twentieth century is not only a history of scientific discoveries carried out in laboratories across America. It is also a story shaped by a generation of artists, designers, and creative thinkers who gave imaginative form to the most elusive matter of all: electrons and their revolutionary powers.
As inventors learned to channel the flow of electrons, starting revolutions in automation, bionics, and cybernetics, generations of commercial artists moved through the traditions of Futurism, Bauhaus, modernism, and conceptual art, finding ways to link art and technology as never before.
A visual tour of this dynamic era, Inside the Machine traces advances and practical revolutions in automation, bionics, computer language, and even cybernetics. Nestled alongside are surprising glimpses into the inner workings of corporations that shaped the modern world: AT&T, General Electric, Lockheed Martin.
While electronics may have indelibly changed our age, Inside the Machine reveals a little-known explosion of creativity in the history of electronics and the minds behind it.