Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Man machine.

Fritz Kahn (1888-1968) was a German physician and a writer of popular science. Between 1920. and 1950. Kahn wrote many books and articles for general public on medicine, health and science. In order to catch his readers' attention, he used very progressive illustrations for that period of time, which incorporated incredible visual analogies and metaphors. Most of these illustrations were done by a team of designers which Kahn would hire, but all of them were conducted under Kahn's art direction. Because of this ability to illustrate complex medical and biological systems using easy understandable graphics, Fritz Kahn is considered to be the pioneer of infographics.

Man as Industrial Palace by Fritz Kahn

Kahn's most known work is a poster from 1926. Der Mensch als Industriepalast. Here he shows the human body as an industrial factory where every tiny detail has its own role so the system can function without any flaws.

In 2006. a German artist Henning Lederer decided to make this poster "alive" and translate the original work into motion graphics. The result is this inspirational animation:

Der Mensch als Industriepalast [Man as Industrial Palace] from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

Lederer shows the human physiology through cycles: respiration, blood circulation, digestive circuit, control center and metabolism. The sixth cycle includes all former five cycles and is actually the fully operational Kahn's human factory .

To me, this man machine analogy actually serves as a reminder how powerful, inspiring and complex human bodies are. Our bodies truly are machineries capable of doing all sorts of different things. For instance... acrobatics.

Shangai Acrobatics - Jonathan Frantini