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The Ballistic Flight of an Automatic Duck

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Author(s): Fabienne Collignon

Journal: Orbit : Writing Around Pynchon
ISSN 2047-2870

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Automatic duck | technology | occult | Thomas Pynchon

ABSTRACT
This article analyses Jacques de Vaucanson's automatic duck and its successive appearances in Thomas Pynchon's work (both Mason & Dixon and, by extension, Gravity's Rainbow) to discuss the correlations between (self-) evolving technologies and space age gadgets. The Cold War serves, therefore, as the frame of reference for this article, which is further preoccupied with the geographical positions that automatons or prototype cyborgs occupy: the last part of the essay analyses Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project, where mechanical hens stand at the entrance to dreamworlds. Automatic fowl guard, and usher into being, new technologised worlds.
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