anonyrrie: Illustration Friday - Robot

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Illustration Friday - Robot


The blurred line between reality and illusion with regard to what makes a being human is a primary theme in both Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ridley Scott's loose 1982 film adaptation, Blade Runner. Both works portray a dystopian future Earth (in the original edition of the novel, the "future" is 1992; in later editions and in the film, it is 2021) where humans who haven't elected or been permitted to emigrate to off-world colonies live in crowded cities and suffer illnesses and mutations caused by radioactive fallout.

Among the incentives to emigrate to the off-world colonies is the service of androids (called "andies" in the novel and "replicants" in the film). Made of biological compounds and endowed with intelligence and implanted memories, these androids are virtually indistinguishable from humans, except for their inability to feel empathy with life. Nonetheless, many androids escape their off-world slavery in search of freedom and the opportunity to live as humans. On Earth, bounty hunters known as blade runners are employed to detect and "retire" androids who are considered extremely dangerous because of their strength, cunning, and lack of emotion.

The central issue of what makes a being human is developed in both works through the characterization of the protagonist Rick Deckard and the various androids with whom he comes into contact. Among the most poignant expressions of this question comes in the film after the replicant Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) saves blade runner Deckard's (Harrison Ford) life and then dies at his programmed time. Deckard muses, "I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life, anybody's life, my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going? How long have I got? All I could do was sit there and watch him die."

What makes us human, if not those eternal questions?

(photo collage)

65 Comments:

Blogger Caroline said...

You have produced a wonderfully feminine robot. And I like your tie in with Blade Runner and read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? very thoughtful. And thought provoking... what if Douglas Adams is right and we were created specifically to find out what the ultimate question was?

11:44 AM  
Blogger disappointed said...

robot has been a more interesting topic than i could have imagined - i like this illustration very much

12:06 PM  
Blogger violetismycolor said...

very nice blend of disciplines...lovely.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Amy Zaleski said...

Still really struggling with this topic myself, but inspired by your take on it. You've managed to stay true to your usual organic style while making a fitting contribution to this week's topic. I love the stars, and the heart symbol on her chest goes nicely with the questions posed below. Beautiful work!

12:52 PM  
Blogger TXArtcGal said...

FANTASTIC!! I love your take on this week's theme. ... also, a great thought-provoking post. I always enjoy your posts!

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Paula said...

A roboto with a heart: how inventive and romantic, Carla.

1:38 PM  
Blogger HARDWAX said...

I've seen Blade Runner, fascinating and riveting. I like your android, she pocesses a sad knowledge that she's not quite human. Sad lovely piece.

3:14 PM  
Blogger creative kismet said...

She seems to seek the humanness that so many take for granted. I love that she wears her heart on her chest. It's beautiful!

4:51 PM  
Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

leave it to you to create such an amazing robot, one of beauty and thought!

5:43 PM  
Blogger Twisselman said...

Wonderful creation, your 'bot (or should I say andie?).

6:39 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

that's beautiful carla...this was the theme of a Star Trek:TNG we saw last nite...LOL, did I say that out loud?...wonderful stuff as always :)

7:20 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Alway a pleasure to see you post and work girl!

9:12 PM  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

beautiful and poetic!!!
Love your illo!
oddly today i was almost run over by a droid in a car and i thought what an unfeeling soul, now i know why!

11:22 PM  
Blogger Rrramone said...

Mmmm. Blade Runner. I have such fond memories of that flick. I like the questions you pose, as usual! :-) Things are blurry indeed.

11:36 PM  
Blogger constanthing said...

Beautiful interpretation.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous the painted pear said...

Having flashbacks of philosophy in college...the theories of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates...and the underlying questions of what are we, who are we? Finding the inner truths...
Nice illustration, to go with your story.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Jaimie said...

This is a beautiful illustration. The figure has such a tender expression on her face. Maybe she really does feel something. Loved your commentary. I always learn something new when I visit your site.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Tony LaRocca said...

Poor Philip K Dick. He had such great ideas, but he couldn't write a narrative worth $#!t. He never really made any money from his books, but after he died, they expanded on his short stories and made blockbusters out of them (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Screamers, Impostor, Paycheck...) Great work as allways.

11:28 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

On a different level (your illustration made me think of this) we can ask how human dolls are? Funny -- I just saw a film with Sean Young in it and wondered whatever happened to her. Maybe she was dismantled and reborn in a different guise.

Nice take on this, Carla.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Wonderful quality, I like the suttle 3d and the lighting. Awesome! I'll have to check out Blade Runner.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Hotwire said...

great illo and i love the background story.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Michael O'Connell said...

great work as usual and thanks for refreshing my memory on Philip K. Dick's work…i never got around to the book but the movie was great

3:05 PM  
Blogger String said...

Ah or the little oragami figures - and isn't Deckard a replicant himself? Your pic reminds me a bit of the old film Mannikin.

4:04 PM  
Blogger buep said...

Beautiful! I like her eyes, the body expression... Very human.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Katili said...

Love is the answer....such a misty and beautiful image with great effects, I love those blur flowers. A fascinating thought and your android looks so dreamy.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Marie-Dom said...

This is very beautiful and I think I want to read the book you talked about.
MD

5:50 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

This is very interesting. When I read Illo Friday, for robot, immediately Stepford Wives came to mind, and the whole concept of the ideal 1950s wife. Your work reminds me very much of that concept.

6:28 PM  
Blogger tiffinix said...

Beautiful Carla. I love all the stars and the vines wrapping around her. And that it is a robot with a heart.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Issi said...

Hello Carla :o) Its a very nice illustration, I like your colours, keep in touch, Issi

6:51 PM  
Blogger madretz said...

Wonderful collage and that her being is trying to be more human.

10:00 PM  
Blogger Kaladda said...

Very interesting and really makes ya think. Luv your illo you did a great job, Human form but she looks robotic.

10:33 PM  
Blogger JO said...

Your work is as always lovely. This has been a fun week (as with monster). I guess that says something about Me!

10:52 PM  
Blogger Drazen said...

very nice image!
I really like the elements

1:02 AM  
Blogger Roz Foster said...

Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies (second only to Brazil). Ridley Scott added so much texture (lots more glamour, vibrancy and ferocity) to the aesthetic of Philip K. Dick's replicants. Rachel was so haunting and delicate...not so much fierce, but Pris... Look out! Looks like you've got a pleasure model, here, like Pris--she seems so delicate and enchanting--and yet, she'll likely kick a hole right through you.

I always enjoy your intelligent, thoughtful posts.

11:04 AM  
Blogger floots said...

great pic
and words
i'm a big fan of phillip k
(though i can see what tony l is getting at - it's just that i think the ideas make up for any failings)
cheers

11:44 AM  
Blogger albina said...

I always loved Blade Runner, thank you for bringing it up…
Beautiful post. You do have a way with putting together literary and visual, always a treat.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Aravis said...

You know, I've never wanted to watch Blade Runner before, but now I do. I'll be thinking about this for the rest of the day. I really like your interpretation for "Robot." I have to admit to being stumped so far myself. Yours, though beautiful, is a little eerie and haunting. I like that.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Holly said...

Ahhh-one of my favourite sci-fi movies. Well done with the photo collage. You are trying so many styles lately-it is great. Cheers!

3:10 PM  
Blogger Tony Sarrecchia said...

I was wondering how you were going to handle this topic--your work is always so organic. Here again, you humanized a mechanical topic. Very nice job.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

Oh, this is really cool. I love that deep dark background. You always have such great messages expressed in your work! Brandi

9:48 PM  
Blogger Rick Lovell said...

Like Roz, Brazil and Blade Runner rank right up there at the top for me ( I need to watch both again, and soon). And after reading your assessment of the robot theme and all its ramifications regarding the human condition, it occured to me that even the Tin Man ( a lightweight replicant, to be sure) from The Wizard of Oz was a metaphor for that eternal search for human-ness; compassion, passion, lust for life, etc. That's essentially what I clumsily tried to capture in my robot image as well.
Beautiful expression of the theme, as usual.

9:58 PM  
Blogger ratlion said...

Love the expression..you've got it just right

10:11 PM  
Blogger mbc said...

A very striking composition. I like the vintage feel of the mannequin against the dark background she is finding her way out of. Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate your comments.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Too cool. Love the texture and color choices.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Debra Cooper said...

A very interesting take on the theme, very deep and enlightening. Your illustration captures that very well.
You have a wonderful gift of being able to produce beautuful art as well as beautiful words to compliment it.
Thank you for your comment on my blog. I wish I could verbalize my thoughts more with each post.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Abbie said...

Carla! What a fabulous image and your written word is just as powerful! Great description of the movie and book. I have seen the movie several times and definitely need to take another look!
Thanks!
:) Abbie

8:54 AM  
Blogger Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Also, the Phaze series by Piers Anthony examines this issue.

Wonderful Illo! WOW! Love it. Beautiful, delicate and thought-provoking. Mary :-)

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful. She looks so gentle and delicate.

11:39 AM  
Blogger steve said...

Very cool Carla. the replicants in Blade Runner have always creeped me out--especially Daryl Hanna's character. I'd love to see that film now on the big screen!

12:35 PM  
Blogger scribblesk said...

Haunting and pensive. Love the intwining flowers!

8:58 PM  
Blogger Chuang Shyue Chou said...

You are aware that Dick's and Scott's focuses are completely different, right?

Dick was more concerned with ontological issues like what is the fabric of reality and so forth whilst Scott was addressing what constituted humanity....

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

A very thought provoking and creative art work.

2:32 AM  
Blogger modroom said...

The unquantifiable quality of the heart takes a quantum leap when it is classified and categorized beyond calculations concerning the correct use of it's capabilities. Phew. Glad this quality is captured here!

7:24 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

LOVE how you made this robot look human. Beautiful job Carla.
a.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Lady K said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I love your take on robot. But I would have loved the image regardless, it's very haunting...

Bladerunner, to me, has always had this twisted Pygmalion theme that runs through it... (Which is why I like it so much.) We have always questioned our humanity but if we can build robots and AI that are more human than us what are we eally?

11:53 AM  
Blogger kathy welsh said...

Hi Carla,

Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my blog! It's so nice to know that someone is reading it and enjoying it.

That's so cool that you read "The Time Traveler's Wife". I'm really enjoying it so far, though haven't had a lot of time the past several days to read.

I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your horse paintings! They're SO beautiful!! They are amazing works of art, even though they're studies for another, larger painting. The face on the single horse study is almost dream-like. In fact, the whole painting has a dreamy, soft quality. Timeless.

Anyway, thanks again for visiting my blog. I have you posted as one of my links because I love your blog and visit pretty much every day. Would you consider adding my blog to your list of links? I'd love people to know it's out there. Here's the link if you decide to add...

http://girlygirlart.blogspot.com/

Have a great day, Carla, and I'm sure we'll cybertalk soon! xoxo Kathy Welsh

1:40 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Great image. Nice feeling of depth.

6:19 PM  
Blogger AscenderRisesAbove said...

Very interesting; as if a manequen (sp) came alive.

8:51 PM  
Blogger frank h said...

excellent!, Carla
the idea and the development
100% achievement

10:03 AM  
Blogger kathy welsh said...

Thanks for putting me up on your blog, Carla! And thanks for your wonderful comments on my work. It's so cool that we have this great way of connecting with other artists, of belonging to a community. I love the world of blogs!

Have you ever attended Artfest? If you haven't, I highly recommend it. It's an experience you won't ever forget.

And thanks for your advice on submitting work for IMT! I think I did it right, but I still get a little confused on how to add links. I copy and then paste. Hopefully that's right.

Anyway, have a great Friday! Kathy

12:56 PM  
Blogger georg said...

Hi Carla! A wonderful, feminine robot - dreaming, about electric sheeps - great!
And thanks for your kind comment, I'll send it to Erik Schrader -

4:48 PM  
Blogger The Unknown said...

Great illo and post. Heh, heh. Make everyone do some thinking. I am a huge fan of P.K.D. and you. :-p
love

1:33 PM  
Blogger Alina Chau said...

Love your robot piece!! WOnderful interpretation of the theme!

4:25 PM  
Blogger Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Goodness! You are well read! Heheh. And you noticed the themes.

Your robot reminded me a lot of the ones used by Kraftwerk.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Ian T. said...

A fine picture that would make a good book jacket for said work. It hints at the existentialist angst that the whole AI thing dealt with in the book and film.

Was that quote from Deckard's voiceover in the original (actually second of three, but that's splitting hairs) cut? I much prefer that release to "The Director's Cut" which, to me, makes plain too much that should be left ambiguous.

2:53 AM  

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