Ayhan Aytes on Al-Jazari’s Automata

Ayhan Aytes, a student at UCSD seems to have a very interesting take on Al-Jazari’s Automata. Here is a description of his work and a talk that he will be giving at the University of Minnesota.

Ayhan Aytes’s research complicates the categorical distinctions between sacred and profane through a series of examples from al-Jazari’s book of mechanical devices. Aytes’s study addresses mainly the depiction of the concept of time in some devices as it originates from the symbolic domain but eventually contributes to a mechanical understanding of the universe, while in other automata time reveals a strange synthesis of a religious ritual with an artificial life form. Traditionally these works have been mainly presented as “Islamic automata” by history of science scholars but even this conception is problematic because of the syncretic elements of the symbolic system referred to by these machines. Ayhan Aytes is a graduate researcher in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego.

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“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” - Leonardo Da Vinci

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