The project is a collaboration with historian Simon Schaffer re-creating old European clockworks by digital technology and 3d printing. Using robotic devices to simulate living animals, the project brings lifelike characteristics to lifeless animal bodies. The sophisticated mechanisms of automatons contain within them a notion that that life can be simulated by art and science. By blurring the line between the animate and the inanimate, these inventions embody a philosophical question to our perception of what makes a living being. This question posed by automatons is still a recurrent theme in science fiction, from Blade Runner, Terminator, AI to recent films such as Automata. What we think of the future is in fact deeply rooted in the past.