Actroid Series II, about the humanoid faces and voices of operating and surveillance systems, appeared in 2021 at Tokyo Arts and Space (TOKAS), Japan.
My work stages sonzai-kan (presence) and kokoro (heart/mind) in techno-science and communications media. I amplify human impulses to totemism, idolatry, and fetishism, by which we attempt to commune with parahuman phenomena, and to push back against our ultimate loneliness in the galaxy.
Making technologies seem human is one way we do this. The narcissistic impulse in all cultures to self-copy enlarges our presence. Perhaps, collectively, at an instinctual level, it addresses the Fermi Paradox.
The Western term ‘pathetic fallacy’ means the (false) designation of human traits or feelings to inanimate or non-biological things. But is the term itself a fallacy, a misnomer? ‘Pathetic Fallacy’ is a conversation about life and death, age and youth. It takes place between an old woman, and a new robot. The robot has the overconfidence of the (literal) digital native; the woman has the overconfidence of the rational anthropocentric human.
The “young” robot’s artificial lifespan is the topic of debate. The characters gently disagree about mortality and deterioration, and about what it means to grow old. Youth doesn’t believe it will age. Age believes it knows best. Humans believe above all in the pathos of humanity. And the cycle continues.