"What about the Heart?" Photos of the Japanese Robotics IndustryPhotography // Tuesday, 27 May 2014
London-based photographer Luisa Whitton 'first became interested in what she describes as "technology and it's effects on identity, in particular its ability to create a double self" while working on a project during the second year of her BA at London College of Communication. Whitton spent several months in Japan working with Hiroshi Ishiguro, a Japanese scientist who had constructed a robotic copy of himself, and continued to work with other scientists documenting their scientific progress on humanoids.
The images that make up her series What About the Heart? focus heavily on the eerily lifelike faces that were constructed for the robots as a way to question the humanistic aspect of the subject.
"In the photographs, I am trying to subvert the traditional formula of portraiture and allure the audience into a debate on the boundaries that determine the dichotomy of the human/not human. The photographs become documents of objects that sit between scientific tool and horrid simulacrum"
Whitton's images are often accompanied by transcribed interviews between herself and the scientists, which she asks questions on the philosophy and role of religion in creating such robots. In doing so the text gives access to the human side of the project, and an insight into the scientist's pursuit of answering the larger question: what does it mean to be human as technology progresses?
Whitton is currently developing What about the Heart? for publication and researching on expanding themes worldwide to include more weird and wonderful technological niches."