Machine Tools

Chassignet, Marina Porras | from Multimedia Library Collection:
Art & Graphics

With the emergence of industrial mass production, material prosperity became synonymous with a “good life.” The technological revolution resulted in the rapid spread of machines: in 2011, more than one billion automobiles roamed our streets and the number of mobile phones exceeded the world’s population. Just a hundred years ago, Earth at night was completely dark; today, it is lit up by lights from urban cities. This is the result of an incomparable growth process: a sphere of human consciousness has risen above the chemical, geological, and biological spheres of the past. Though this consciousness was initially focused on material growth, today we are beginning to see a trend towards sustainability and a climate-conscious way of life. However, in order to establish these new values on a worldwide scale, we need to make sure that basic human needs, such as a roof over one’s head and sufficient food and water, are sufficiently met. 


Machine Tools
Marina Porras Chassignet

The history of the hole: Machine tools

Text and images by Marina Porras Chassignet 
University of the Arts (UdK), Berlin

The story of the hole
“If my hands were freed up, I would dig a hole right here.”


“If I knew a better technique, I wouldn’t need 60 hours to drill this hole.”


“If we were stronger, we could drill a larger hole.”


“If we had more precise tools, we could work more accurately.”


“If I had better machines, I would drill 1,000 holes per minute.”


“If the machines would run automatically, we could drink coffee while working.”


“If I didn’t have to press buttons, I could pick up my daughter from school.”


“If we could one day learn to think for ourselves, we could finally get rid of humans.”


Artist’s comment

It was only through my research for this comic that I understood how the development and utilization of machine tools led to a highly technological world. The implementation of tools not only influences the production of goods, but it also significantly impacts our rhythm of our life, culture, environment, and daily life. We must decide how want to continue in the future. 

How to cite

Chassignet, Marina Porras. “Machine Tools.” Environment & Society Portal, Multimedia Library, 2014.

The comic also appears in Alexandra Hamann, Reinhold Leinfelder, Helmuth Trischler, and Henning Wagenbreth, eds., Anthropozän – 30 Meilensteine auf dem Weg in ein neues Erdzeitalter. Eine Comic-Anthologie (Munich: Deutsches Museum, 2014).

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.