Can you imagine a world of humanoids?

In the exhibition, titled ‘I/Robot’, Goa-based artists share their view of the world of humanoid robots, through sculptures, paintings, installations and more
Artwork by Paola Dias Silva
Artwork by Paola Dias SilvaGomantak Times

Cube Gallery, Moira, previewed an exhibition titled ‘I/Robot’ on May 1, 2022, with Goa-based artists exploring robotic complexities in increasingly blurred lines between humans, machines and advancing technology. It explores a post-human world, pushing boundaries to expand encounters with the world of humanoid robots in sculptures, paintings, installations and mixed media, expressing thematic concerns and looking at how man-made creations and contours disrupt and transform the world as we know it.

Artist-architect-curator, Sonny Singh, imbues 5 humanoids with an array of imaginary personas making his humanoids just ‘human enough,’ embodying them with an ‘other-worldly’ feel, using spectacle and showmanship with his team, Kotya and Oleg, who add special bohemian cyber-tribal-punk counter-culture vibes to these figures of fantasy. “It’s a dystopian future, when we build machines that look like us and think like us, but can act without us and even get rid of us!”

Artwork by Chaitali Morajkar
Artwork by Chaitali MorajkarGomantak Times

Fragility and strength in Querozito De Souza’s processes of transformation, destruction and re-formation “in search of other-selves,” reflect enduring thematic concerns, torments of invisible emotions and feelings. “My concern about human representations in humanoids is, can they be realistic representations unfolding emotions between discoveries of a race that’s mechanical, defined and controlled by sensuality and desire,” says Querozito.

Chaitali Morajkar explores the robotic world and it’s far reaching effects, juxtaposing humanoid with the animaloid. “The insecurity/fear of this robotic world, humans turning into machines; disappearing emotions and dependency placed against the comfort and easy life that this robotic world has brought,” she explains.

Artwork by Paola Dias Silva
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Russian artist with Spanish, Chilean Indian roots, Paola Dias Silva, opines, “For me an illusorily fragile idea transforms into an image, the illusion becomes reality. After all, this is a world of illusions and images trying to exist in the physical world, where reality is intertwined with mysticism, where dream and reality are together.”

Maria Philipose pushes the boundaries of her photographic practice in her multimedia installation, and uses artificial intelligence, conveying an intriguing conversation between the artist and programmed future self which is faultless, flawless though unfeeling in persona. The play of energies between her and her creation form the crux of this artwork. “We created God in our likeness, flawed, compassionate and cruel. Yet, our gods remain immortal. Trans-humanism is no longer sci-fi. We make machines, feeding algorithms towards seeking perfection, trying to survive the planet. AI programming is intuitive; will our created machines walk among us or will we become them? Have we already?” says she.

Artist-professor, Praveen Naik, underlines a subtle critique of the modern-day organisation reduced to a faceless alphanumeric number or index code. Referring to mythological deities and heroes, superior versions, or avatars of gods, concerning social, existential and ethical questions around machines, humanity and humanoids.“Mankind develops from primordial form to codes, phone numbers, sizes, account numbers, OTPs, QRs define our existence. Numbers are what we have become,” says Naik.

Saheel Khan’s bold strokes, smudges and detailing in charcoal maintain a dream-like narrative looking at interesting ways that human beings seek to connect and develop feelings for their robotic controlled programmable machines. Says Khan, “Is it need or selfishness that humans seek comfort in robotic arms? Do we need to advance emotional intelligence to accept and benefit from the ideas of a better future?”

Sparsh Gupta explores universal human needs, particularly the quest for knowledge and the emotional hunger to connect in a beguiling mix of reality and reverie resonating with an unknown enigmatic quality drawn into his intimate painterly world. “A majority of human beings have lived an egoistic life leading to a major decline in their population. The chances of finding another human being to share a relationship with are decreasing, and science creates new droids providing their own forever companion to help humans share and care for them,” explains Sparsh.

Mysterious and grotesque, Julio D’Souza defies conventional notions of beauty, an exploration of the human creative process imbuing symbolism, combining surrealism and expressionism to achieve this effect, compelling one to wonder, could a robot ever produce art from its sub-conscious or imagination when it doesn’t have any? “I transform images by using intense highlights. My vision attains novel dimensions in a stand-alone imagery, demanding the viewer to participate in the dialogue,” says Julio.

Nimmy Joshi, a ceramicist takes a more optimistic view towards a Utopian future crafting and assembling an array of delightful robotic creatures. “With biodiversity declining, climate change and war, we look for greener pastures in the not-so-distant future, leaving the earth. What would that look like? What if robots evolve to become man’s best friends in an increasingly isolating world; watching our backs, observing and monitoring our surroundings, assisting us in new inter-galactic adventures. Can we live around movement bots, fem bots, bot colleagues, friend bots, as we hurl through space and time. Our greatest teacher, Nature, has all the answers,” explains Nimmi.

Thomas Louis primarily works with clay, ceramics and mix media, incorporates machine parts to create strange artificial creatures and objects to challenge our understanding of the world and ways we live in it, placing Nature against the man-made and the artificial. Says Louis, “Humans have been modified in some way to enhance their capacity in some form, and it’s only a matter of time before organic life forms and machines integrate seamlessly to explore realms in the infinite space of human curiosity and making their own mark. Here’s an artistic adaptation of what that creation might look like in the nearing future.”

Curator Samira Seth elucidates, “Paradoxically, there is a rise in these artificial intelligent systems being humanised and designed with as many human attributes their creators can think of, as one compelling question resonates ‘If robots can do everything better, faster and more powerfully than humans, then at the end, what does it even mean to be human?’”

The exhibition will be on view till May 31, 2022 at Cube Gallery, Moira, Bardez.

Artwork by Paola Dias Silva
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