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DAVE SMITH

dave@grooveq.com.au
+61 413 599216

ALISON COLE

alison@grooveq.com.au
+61 413 599216

GROOVE Q

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Sydney, NSW, 2039
Australia

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Sydney, NSW, 2039
Australia

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Android Aesthetic
Date 15.01 MMXIV
Do humans dream of electric sheep?
Androids have long been a useful device for exploring questions about what it means to be human, our interaction with technology and what defines consciousness in contemporary fiction and film. The term android itself has become somewhat interchangeable with robot, but uniquely refers to machines taking a distinctly human form. The word was coined from the Greek root ἀνδρ- 'man' and the suffix -oid 'having the form or likeness of'.

In films such as Westworld (1973), Alien (1979) and Prometheus (2012) Androids have been depicted as untrustworthy instruments of corporations with an agenda. In contrast, they've also been presented as benevolent, almost childlike machines seeking to develop consciousness and morality - such as the Data character from the television series Stark Trek TNG  (1987).


Man & Machine - Yul Brynner
Man & Machine - Yul Brynner
Dave 8  - Prometheus
Dave 8 - Prometheus
Data
Data
The Swedish TV series, Äkta Människor (2012) aka 'Real Humans' takes place in a parallel present where Hubots (a fictional brand-name synonymous with android) are consumer goods (a cheeky nod to Sweden's famously mass produced Ikea) which take on almost every role imaginable. It's a great platform from which to explore 21st century issues - androids as servants and factory workers (organised labor) or partners and lovers (human rights). 

There's also a back story reminiscent of Blade Runner, as a select group of Hubots seek answers to their own limitations and apparently unique abilites (one android longs to be a wife and mother) and mortality.
Part of the success is the subtle use of makeup but also the effective method of the actors in portraying the Hubots. It's an echo of a similar 'plastic' aesthetic seen in Manga and elsewhere. I've started to wonder, if it's possible for androids to dream of being human, could the converse be possible?

The recent Channel 4 documentary 'Secrets of the Living Dolls' was an eye-opening "WTF?" expose of a little known contemporary lifestyle. The show introduces various men  (there is definitely a sexual component here) in the US and UK who engage in 'Masking' - which can only be described as wearing full female body suits. Putting aside the psychological aspects, which mostly seem benign, I was struck by the intentional artificiality of the face masks...and immediately thought of Hubots.

Real Humans is in it's second season on SVT and season 1 has screen on SBS television in Australia.