The L'artMettrie banner displays a drawing in ballpoint. The person depicted is entering a text via a keyboard. The L'artMettrie application is programmed in Flash 5 which at present is not accessible to the disabled. The application allows one to enter texts via the keyboard and via links, which are then read in the form of intestinal wind and noise. The surface of the application is a guitar distortion pedal whose control/s/dial/s can be used to modulate the sounds. When the application is started, the info-text is read out, conveying a first acoustic impression.

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Nothing, as any one can see, is so simple as the mechanism of our education. Everything may be reduced to sounds or words that pass from the mouth of one through the ears of another into his brain. At the same moment, he perceives through his eyes the shape of the bodies of which these words are the arbitrary signs.
La Mettrie, Man a Machine

L'artMettrie is a machine living on the web which nourishes itself by means of data and entropically digests them into noise and intestinal wind. It wants to be fed with links and texts so that it can nihilistically eat its way through the web.

In the same way, finally, does not one man hear (except immediately after his attack) without being able to say what he hears, while another who hears nothing, but whose lingual nerves are uninjured in the brain, mechanically tells of all the dreams which pass through his mind?
La Mettrie, Man a Machine

The French doctor and philosopher Julien Offroy de La Mettrie (1709-1751) evolved the idea of man reduced to mechanical processes in his main work "L'homme machine” ("Man a Machine”, 1748), and so formed the basis of a materialistic psychology.

The body is but a watch, whose watchmaker is the new chyle.
La Mettrie, Man a Machine

His "mechano-vitalistic" conception of the world opposes a psycho-physical dualism and argues for an (emergent) materialism. He advocates a materialistic monism that sees everything mental as based in the physical, and thus declares the soul/body problem or mind and body schism obsolete. Mind and intelligence are understood as determined systems that can be deconstructed and mechanically simulated. Hence man as a phenomenon is reduced to an input/output model, to an apparatus that processes sensory data.

But since all the faculties of the soul depend to such a degree on the proper organization of the brain and of the whole body, that apparently they are but this organization itself, the soul is clearly an enlightened machine.
La Mettrie, Man a Machine

Hard natural sciences – from medicine to biotechnology, the neurosciences and robotics, to artificial intelligence and artificial life research – stand in a materialistic tradition. Today, under changed conditions, this tradition is experiencing not only a highly explosive topicality but is being pushed forwards as a tendency of enlightenment, one which by shedding light on techno-paradigmatic "empirical empires” prepares us for post-human states.

…since thought visibly develops with our organs, why should not the matter of which they are composed be susceptible of remorse also, when once it has acquired, with time, the faculty of feeling?
La Mettrie, Man a Machine

Within the context of the "senseless" project, La Mettrie is interesting – irrespective of the question of "mind" and how it relates to matter – as a rigorous anti-moralist and advocator of nihilism. For "L'artMettrie" considers itself an ironic machine which, in the mode of a relativism of sense and information perception, operates "senselessly” – and so, perhaps, entirely as meant by La Mettrie, that main supporter of a polemically ironic philosophy.

Let us then conclude boldly that man is a machine, and that in the whole universe there is but a single substance differently modified.
La Mettrie, Man a Machine

Cited from the revised Bussey translation (1912 Open Court edition)
of La Mettrie's 1748 classic "L’homme machine”, as found at

The drawing in ballpoint depicts a person with cybergoggles who is pressing a start button with his finger.


L'artMettrie benötigt das
Flash 5 Plug-in von Macromedia.

Kontakt: Thomas Feuerstein