The Mechanical Turk

Turk, G (2015) The Mechanical Turk. Metropole Hotel, Venice, Italy, 1 May - 30 June 2015.

Item Type: Exhibition
Creators: Turk, G
Abstract: Gavin Turk’s film The Mechanical Turk (2006), presented by the Gervasuti Foundation in collaboration with the Hotel Metropole is a site specific installation within the context of the hotel’s Byzantine, historical and cultural references. The film shows the artist impersonating Wolfgang von Kempelen’s famous automaton ‘The Turk’ (1769) which was capable of playing a game of chess against a human opponent. This ingeniously constructed mechanism was exhibited by its various owners and captivated audiences across Europe and America, until Edgar Allen Poe exposed it in the early 1820s as a hoax. The cabinet beneath the automaton was an elaborate hiding place for a dwarf chess master to secretly play the game. The influential cultural theorist Walter Benjamin compared the Mechanical Turk to a particular view of history, which doesn’t see through the illusions that conceal the true mechanisms of power and he related the automaton to Karl Marx’s concept of historical materialism.
Official URL:
Date: May 2015
Event Location: Metropole Hotel, Venice, Italy
Number of Pieces: 1
Medium: Film projection
Measurements/Duration: 14 min
Divisions: Bath School of Art, Film and Media
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2016 17:36
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:44
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)