Reading Room: Oskar Schlemmer’s Prophetic, Dancing Robots

Oskar Schlemmer’s Prophetic, Dancing Robots

“Between 1921 and 1929, when he served as the Master of Form at the Bauhaus, Schlemmer revolutionized and renewed dance as performance art. Thereafter, his career fell victim to Nazi cultural politics. He was forced to resign, due to pressure from the Nazis, from his professorship at Berlin’s United State School for Fine and Applied Art in 1933 and was publicly labelled a decadent Jew and a Marxist (of which he was neither). Schlemmer’s ambition for creating dancing tableaux vivants was to renew the art theories of his time through a combination of Gropius’s gesamtkunstwerk thinking and humanist ideas stemming from the Renaissance. This led Schlemmer to create a proto-robotic art by virtue of a relocation of embodied and mechanic consciousness — now commonly known as the post-human condition.”

By Joseph Nechvatal