Skip to content

Der Mensch als Industriepalast [Man as Industrial Palace] by Henning Lederer

March 12, 2010

Henning Lederer explores the six cycles within the human factory: Five different topics separately or a conglomeration of them all together, based on Fritz Khan poster Der Mensch als Industriepalast [Man as Industrial Palace] from 1926.

Dr. Fritz Kahn (1888-1968) was a gynaecologist in Berlin and a world-famous popular science writer who illustrated the form and function of the human body with spectacular, modern man-machine analogies. In the 1920s, his magnum opus, “Das Leben des Menschen” (The Life of Man) – a five-volume series – was renowned as a German accomplishment of global repute. In the 1930s, his books were banned and burned by the Nazis, then edited by Kahn’s publisher and reissued as plagiarisms with a superimposed anti-Semitic chapter.

The poster Der Mensch als Industriepalast has inspired Henning Lederer to make this interesting work. Let’s read his design statements:

The intertwining of science, culture, art and technology

For thousands of years, human beings have used metaphors as ways of understanding the body. We talk about our ‘ear drums’, or our ‘mind’s eye’. When we are in love we say our hearts are ‘bursting’ or ‘broken’. When we are nervous we say we have ‘butterflies in our stomach’. When we are impatient we have ‘itchy feet’. These familiar images help to explain the unfamiliar and to comprehend the complexity of our bodies.

The visual crossover between industrialization and science in Fritz Kahn’s artwork demonstrates surprisingly accurately how human nature became culturally encoded by placing the knowledge in an industrial modernity of machine analogues. He produced lots of illustrations that drew a direct functional analogy between human physiology and the operation of contemporary technologies. Therefore, by illustrating the body as a factory, Kahn was able to relate the body’s complex organic interior to the industrialized space so common in society during that period of time (the poster was created in 1926).

From the moment on that Henning Lederer got to know Kahn’s poster “Man as Industrial Palace” in 2006, he had the idea to animate this complex and strange way of explaining the functions of a body. He wanted to continue Fritz Kahn’s act of replacing a biological with a technological structure by transferring this depiction with the help of motion graphics and animation. In addition to the moving images, as a framework, Henning created a cabinet for his work including a mixture of old and new technology. This new version of the “Industrial Palace“ is an interactive installation for the audience to interact with – and by this to explore the different cycles of this human machinery:


Henning Lederer born on 1980, and studied Visual Communication at the Fachhochschule Düsseldorf (University of Applied Sciences) in Germany from 2001 until 2006. While studying he already created and produced several animation- and motion-design-projects, participating in lots of media- and film-related festivals. From February 2006 until September 2008 he has worked in this field, e.g. participating in the media-production for the new Porsche-Museum in Stuttgart and the Watch-Museum Glashütte (responsible client of both projects: jangled nerves GmbH, Stuttgart). Lederer recently completed the MA Digital Arts course at the Norwich University College of the Arts (October 2008 – September 2009) and graduated as a Master of Arts, with distinction.

For more information about Henning Lederer and his projects visit:

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: