The Robot Family Portrait Album Project
One of these days, perhaps in the not too distant future, robots and artificial intelligence technology will evolve to the point that our mechanical buddies will take on more and more of what we consider to be human characteristics. Over time they may even develop a deep longing for times past and want to recall memories of their ancestors.
Unfortunately no robot, and no human being, has been rigorously capturing and collecting images of the robots as they evolve. There is a significant risk that some of the robots will be lost to history or consigned to the scrap heap.
Their carbon based creators might not care, but their silicon dependents will definitely feel a tremendous loss and empty aching vacuum in their hearts when they think about their origins and ancestors.
Patrick Millard, with input and guidance from Heather Knight, a well known roboticist that focuses on the social aspects and applications of robotics, has risen to the task. Using the very first practical photography process, the daguerreotype, Millard is creating a comprehensive robot family portrait album.
He is definitely well equipped for the task. Millard is a Pittsburgh based artist, curator, and educator. In addition to his creations, which typically involve unique and often surprising perspectives on the intersection of technology and life, he is an Assistant Professor of Photography at Point Park University and a workshop instructor for the Vasa Project's online workshops.
Millard doesn't confine himself to just the physical world or a specific area. He curates virtual exhibitions and online galleries including Second Life. His subject selections have included everything from biotechnology, virtual reality, AI, gene therapy, cyber culture to renewable energy, and much more. And, on some occasions, he has injected himself into the midst of his work, serving as the artist in residence at Biosphere 2 during June, 2010. Life as art, or art as life? Certainly art and life as an adventure and exploration, at least for Millard and those, like us, that appreciate his works.