Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Don't Want To Go Back To *THIS* Future

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?


Phebean Belle "Phoebe" A. Ramos said...

Scary photo indeed.

This early we are already too enslaved, one way or another, by technology that in a possible era of humans versus robots/machines, we are the hapless prey.

Patty Miranda said...

hapless... but oftentimes willing.

i was originally thinking using the title "the end is near! we are all going to die!" but thought it was too depressing for a first post. hehe

prettyinpunk said...

sad and true, the younger generation has already lost qualities and activities that were present in our generation because of their dependence on technology. now im wondering, red pill or blue pill?

rsq said...

there really is going to be a problem especially if/when someone "obsessively ruminates" over a photo for 15 minutes. :-)

Patty Miranda said...

prettyinpunked: that dude in the photo took the blue pill and look what happened. :(

rsq: sir, ever since the invention of friendster, obsessively ruminating over photos is considered acceptable behavior na. hehe

Z said...

Remember the Geekologie writer's take on ROBOTS? No but it's like you all had the same reaction to James Cameron's work: "OMFG NOOOOOO!!!!" hahahahaha

But you know belief in the inevitability of "progress," in that it can't ever be good for everyone but may guarantee only the advancement of technology as it suits our needs*...means that at one point Earth can potentially be a Cybertron. Despite The Transformers' long history in media, it wasn't until a few years ago that in one cartoon or comic (for got already) that they discovered fossils in their planet's crust. Which means there wasn't a "Machine God" as their religion says; there was a civilization there that eventually died out and left intelligent machines behind.

Which is of course better than the James Cameron outlook that basically says the machines will drive us to extinction.

*Unlike the overly optimistic definition from Liberal Economists