machine theater of the Sun King Louis XIV

Digital reconstruction of a Sun King theater

April 21, 2023

"Intelligent through diversity and the diversity of intelligence”. Under this principle, Romance literary studies and mechanical engineering are conducting joint research at the University of Stuttgart to decipher the logic of a machine theater of the Sun King Louis XIV.

Deciphering the Sun King's machine theater

"Intelligent through diversity and the diversity of intelligence”. Inspired by this principle, scholars from Romance literary studies (Faculty 9: Kirsten Dickhaut, Alisa Winkens) and mechanical engineering (Faculty 7: Oliver Riedel, Shan Fur) are conducting a joint research project. The goal is to decode the design of one of the historical stage machines of King Louis XIV from the 17th century and to understand the historical logic of this theater. The complexity of the data requires close cooperation between the disciplines in order to identify information gaps in the historical material, evaluate them in the contemporary context, and implement them using modern simulation and visualization techniques. 

Digital theater reconstruction of the Salle des Machines

Duration: 1:55 | Source: YouTube

A stage for the Sun King 'to go'.

Digital theater reconstruction of the Salle des Machines in the Tuileries Palace (17th century, Paris)

An innovation for both disciplines

This will provide new insights into the function and effect of this form of theater and its technical conditions, which is entirely new ground for both disciplines. This interdisciplinary project allows a historical theater reproduction to emerge, which is not only fundamentally important for further research in literary studies, mechanical engineering, and mentalities and theater studies, but also valuable for scenography in today's performance arts or for educational purposes in schools.

The creativity and innovation expressed in this interdisciplinary project are key aspects of the University of Stuttgart's Diversity Concept. A unique feature of the University of Stuttgart is its commitment to the Stuttgart Way, which shows what can be achieved when scientists from a variety of top-level research fields work together in an interdisciplinary manner. In this sense, cooperation between all members of the university with their different professional backgrounds and talents is key to the university’s continuing success.

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