Dominic Pettman at Cabinet:
Is it ironic or apt that a man who had dedicated much of his life to the future of wireless communication would fall for the ancient, living technology of a carrier pigeon? And is it ironic or apt that a man whose final years as an inventor were dedicated to a fearful direct-energy “teleforce” weapon (dubbed the “death ray” by the press) fell in love with the key symbol for peace?
We cannot know what thoughts or emotions were coiled inside Tesla’s mind and heart as he feared for the life of his nameless, winged mistress, and then mourned her passing as he would a lover. But we can discern, and appreciate, the creaturely affection that he experienced, and ultimately spoke of matter-of-factly, once the race for absolute human technical mastery had been assumed by others. For the man who invented the rotating magnetic field, “animal attraction” or “animal magnetism” was not simply a figure of speech, but an everyday experience and personal responsibility, and one that did not stop at the border between species. As such, this patron saint of the cybernetic triangle—one linking human, animal, and machine—sends us a message from the age of high industry and scientific discovery concerning love itself as the invisible but overwhelming alternating current that animates existence, and can sometimes be explicitly shared among creatures.