WATCH: Reviving The Ancient Art of Automata

WORDS Mary Garner VIDEO Great Big Story on Vimeo

François Junod is a master craftsman who is passionate about the painstaking art of automata.

Automata, which dates back to ancient Egypt, is known to the modern world as the earliest form of robotics.

Automata was first designed to entertain royalty and is made using complex mechanics that combine anatomy with watchmaking. This makes the object or puppet appear to come alive.

“The difference with a robot and an automation is that a robot has an industrial function, not aesthetic,” says Francois in this clip. “An automation is poetry; it’s magic; it’s telling a story, so it’s completely different; it’s an animated sculpture. It’s a scene – it’s a magic object.”


Assembling these mechanical masterpieces in his studio in Switzerland, François is looking to move this art into the future.

Watch the clip above to find out more about this fascinating art form.