top of page

Welcome to the Machine

   Image source
Image source

The entry of electric appliances to the house, such as the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, washing machine, have been deemed as a way to create more free time for the modern household keeper.  

If one can magically wash a pile of dishes in one go, one has allowed themselves the time to sit and play with their kids on the neatly cleaned rug which was just vacuumed, and by the way pack a pile or two of clothing into the washing machine -- all along creating an endless cycle of magical machines working alongside each other. 

Don't get me wrong I'm all for handling the washing in a machine instead of heading down the river (especially because where I leave it gets really cold in the winter), but so much of the machine like efficiency dictates our behaviors we have become conditioned to the machine

The Swiss architect Le Corbusier, the forefather of our modern day housing projects, who coined the term "A house as a machine for living in", has taken this to the purest terms which has many criticising the 'inhuman' living spaces that have been created when bound to the concept of machine like living spaces. 

Recently I went on a tour of an Amish farm house. It was (I hope) an authentic replica of an existing Amish home. As we were sitting in a tourist trap of the house tour, it dawned on me how much of the so called "time freeing machines", have in actuality made for extensive work with in our day to day lives, and in fact we don't spend much less time accomplishing things in life. It's like when computer drafting tools were made part of mainstream design and architecture practices. Today we spend the same time drafting as in previous generations, but got through more iterations of the drawing, not necessarily in the same depth we used too. 

When we have magical machines whisking away the brunt of the grinding work, we just consume more dishes, clothes, and even buy more rugs to fill our homes. The Amish way of living as curious as it made me, is far from perfect, and in many ways in my view stumps natural human development.

And aside from natural resistance I have to extreme religious forms -- it made me wonder what happens to us humans, when you are limited to an certain amount of dishes, clothes, and even paint colors 

(they are only allowed to use 4 colors in their homes). When all home mysteries, such as electricity or wireless internet, are resolved in front of your eyes. Light is brought in by the sun, or use of oil lamps, hands are washed from water in ceramic basin, food is consumed from local farms. 

It might create for hard physical labor, but I have to admit that when I need to resolves problems I usually hand wash the dishes (perhaps as a means to connect to my foremothers farming roots). We as a society miss the tactile feeling of space and objects, we sometimes need to time to feel textile and not just shove it in the washer, we sometimes need to disconnect from the machine so we appreciate our ability to create and and rethink again. 


bottom of page