What makes acclaimed horror photographer Joshua Hoffine's newest work, Robot (Autumn 2010), particularly compelling is that the chosen theme strikes a particular chord – albeit a discordant one – by revealing a disturbing vision of what an oppressively over-wired, technology-fueled future may look like. Yes, I'm stating the obvious by pointing out that it's not a pretty picture. Which, of course, just comes to show you how GREAT Robot is as a socio-political commentary.
Hoffine writes in his Behind the Scenes blog that the theme of this particular project is:
"... addiction and dependence, especially as it pertains to technology."
He also shares that Robot began as a commission for an electro synth rock band called Raggedy Angry for their new album entitled How I Learned to Love Our Robot Overlords. Golf carts, empty grape juice bottles, knitting needles, Star Wars plastic toys and plenty of thrift store finds later, the life-sized robot is finished. See more of the build and shoot process here.
While some may excitedly embrace the term "addiction" in relation to technology consumption – especially with the way the word is thrown around indiscriminately, like when people claim to be addicted to running or, say, frozen yoghurt – the flood of news articles on technology related disorders, dependencies and deaths convey the gravity of the situation. So even without strictly considering the formal medical elements that are the basis of a clinical addiction diagnosis, a person's display of certain negative behaviors may give rise to the label "technology addict." Such observable symptoms may include unreasonable cravings, gross neglect of personal responsibilities, isolation from human contact, and withdrawal pangs or aggression when the device is taken away from the user.
In sum, if there is anything I gathered from obsessively ruminating on this photograph for about 15 minutes is that we, both technology creators and consumers, should take a long, hard and honest look at ourselves and examine the different ways we may be enslaving ourselves (purposely or otherwise) to the objects that were originally created to make life more convenient.
Consider: do we like what we see?