The Air Loom
The Air Loom | (A Human Influencing Machine) | A project by artist Rod Dickinson. As of 11 October 2021 discussed on line starting here.
Dickinson has attempted "to reconstruct a little known mind control machine from the 18th century. The machine was drawn and described in great detail by one time spy and tea broker James Tilly Matthews in 1810."
Matthews was convinced the Air Loom "ran on magnetic fluids. Operated by skilled pneumatic chemists who controlled the warp of the fluids that travelled out of the machine toward the intended victim. [* * *] Matthews['s] writings and drawings of the machine were published by the then Apothecary of Bedlam" (i.e., Bethlehem Royal Hospital) "John Haslam, in what has now become a classic text: Illustrations Of Madness," the title page of which is posted on the website.
Mind control, or mind manipulation is a common trope even by the standards of tropes, but in our times ordinarily achieved — in imagination — through small implants, as, e.g., very impressively in the 1953 film INVADERS FROM MARS, or, with less horror, in Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan. The Air Loom is quite large, and oddly elegant in a somewhat clunky, proto-steampunk manner.
RDE, finishing, with thanks to Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, 11Oct21