Call for Book Chapters: “Machine Metaphors in Art”

Vernon Press invites book chapters for a forthcoming edited volume on the subject of “Machine Metaphors in Art.”

For over a century, the machine has been an enduring metaphor for artists, philosophers, theorists, and historians commenting on the production, distribution, and consumption of art. This edited volume welcomes chapters on the prevalence and impacts of machine metaphors, illuminating how such metaphors frame our thinking of artists, artworks, and arts workers, as well as considering what is at stake for communities when these metaphors are naturalized.
The Futurist’s dream to merge with machines still resounds in contemporary art. Andy Warhol famously wanted to “be a machine” as he and his “employees” produced in The Factory. More recently, authorship has been attributed to algorithms as co-authors (vis-a-vis Harold Cohen and AI robot AARON) and as sole-authors in the 2018 Christies’ auction of The Portrait of Edmond Belamy (2018) by French collective Obvious. Levi-Bryant's Machine-Oriented Aesthetics (2011) proposed that artworks are engines that produce, anticipating Olafur Eliasson’s Reality Machines (2015), an exhibition title which positioned the artworks as “reality-producing machines” (Eliasson, 2015). Increasingly, the machine’s elevated position of value has become palpable in the representation of the artworld machine through the launch of Merek Classens AI and data driven art market App Limna, which calculates artists’ value in the attention economy.

This volume welcomes chapters considering what is lost and what is gained from looking at artworks or arts communities through machine metaphors? Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Artistic value in networked artworlds, blockchains and / or open-source communities
  • A digital Society of the Spectacle and the role of art in the Technosphere
  • Riding the techno-hype – meeting audiences where the hype is.
  • Conceptual Metaphor Theory in the production, reception or critique of works of art
  • Artists making with systems – cybernetic thinking in the studio
  • Analyses of latent machine metaphors in studio practice and/or research.
  • Authorship and creative autonomy in a cybernetic age
  • Artistic expressions or responses to ideology and grand narratives in the advent of new technologies.

Chapter proposal submission

Please submit an abstract no longer than 500 words to Dr Tony Curran (volume editor) at by December 15, 2023. Additionally, please include a short biography (max. 300 words).

This proposal is due on December 15th 2023.

Page last updated on December 4th 2023. All information correct at the time, but subject to change.