Dieter Daniels is the Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.Art.Research. in Linz, Austria. He initiated the Videonnale Bonn in 1984, was director of the ZKM Video Library from 1992-4, and has been Professor of Art History and Media Theory at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Design.
In this paper, Daniels draws parallels between Duchamp and Alan Turing, and in placing their work alongside contemporary media art, notes the prevailing confusion of cause and effect of art and media technological innovations. After all, don’t they both emerge from “models, sketches, and blueprints” (104)?
In Alan Turing’s universal machine, detailed in his 1950 paper “Can a Machine Think?” thinking is done for humans, but not by them. And in Duchamp’s La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même [Large Glass] (1915-23), the “bachelor mode” is unfulfilled sexual urge. Both instances, Large Glass and the Turing Test, are “specifically masculine scenarios that revolve around an insurmountable distance from the female and, as a result, install a media-technical communication as a replacement for a physical encounter” (115).
“But today the bachelor machine has left the field of art and literature far behind and instead become a motif for the omnipresent practice of media technology. The universal machine of the computer serves as a means to realize these wishes, but its capacity does not suffice to fulfill them completely, nor to replace the human counterpart” (127).