Imagining a Time When Human and Robots Coexist

The Photo Blog
April 5 2013 11:00 AM

Robots: Imagining They’re Just Like Us

Reem B #6 [Pal], Barcelona, Spain, 2010
Reem B #6 [Pal], Barcelona, Spain, 2010

Vincent Fournier

Vincent Fournier’s “The Man Machine” is a whimsical look into a world where humans and robots coexist.

“I am exaggerating our present in an ironical way,” Fournier wrote via email. “My images look both serious and absurd. … It is about creating emotions both aesthetic and with a twist; I like the fact that when you look at my pictures you have no clue if they are true or not or how and when they have been done.” Perhaps robots are considered the epitome of lifelessness, but the poses and banality of these robots give the viewer a playful impression of humanity.

Fournier included an international array of robots, including those from Japan and Spain, though he mentioned that regardless of the country, the developers, as well as funding, are often a multinational affair. “Robots have no nationality, almost no identity either,” Fournier wrote.

Murata Boy #1 [Murata], Head Office building, Nagaokakyo-100 shi, Kyoto, Japan, 2010
Murata Boy #1 [Murata], Head Office building, Nagaokakyo-100 shi, Kyoto, Japan, 2010

Vincent Fournier

Reem A [Pal], Barcelone, Spain, 2010
Reem A [Pal], Barcelona, Spain, 2010

Vincent Fournier

One constant thread in Fournier’s work has been his interest in science, which he said has always nourished his work but “more for its poetry than the actual physics. … I use science to re-enhance the world with magic and beauty; this magical aspect of science has always fascinated me, like a link from the visible to the invisible world around us that we can’t see, though it exists.”

The recent publication of Fournier’s book Past Forward includes many of the images from “The Man Machine.” The book encompasses Fournier’s childhood dreams and is a hodgepodge of images that are fantastical and sometimes nonsensical.

About the book, Fournier wrote:

“The title Past Forward is a combination of things that won’t naturally fit together, which is a key to enter my images. … Nowadays we don’t have a vision of the future, which is a shame. … When NASA put men on the moon, it was also about a collective dream. I guess my images are allegories of childhood dreams of a future with rockets and robots! A future that never arrived and remains an image of the past.”

Asimo #2 [Honda], RMCA, Brussels, Belgium, 2009
Asimo #2 [Honda], RMCA, Brussels, Belgium, 2009

Vincent Fournier

Reem B #7 [Pal], B 110 arcelone, Spain, 2010
Reem B #7 [Pal], B 110 Barcelona, Spain, 2010

Vincent Fournier

Reem B #2 [Pal], Barcelone, Spain, 2010
Reem B #2 [Pal], Barcelona, Spain, 2010

Vincent Fournier

Asimo #1 [Honda], RMCA, Brussels, Belgium, 2009
Asimo #1 [Honda], RMCA, Brussels, Belgium, 2009

Vincent Fournier

Reem B #9 [Pal], Barcelone, Spain, 2010
Reem B #9 [Pal], Barcelona, Spain, 2010

Vincent Fournier