Our Roombas seemed like enough for a while. We dressed them up, placed beers on them and our cats hated them. But this is the future. Where’s Rosie, and all her coked-up menopausal robot friends? Where are the antics of the family circus?
They’re hiding in the conceptual photography of Arjen Born. Through photography and sculpture (and we assume, some 3-D modeling, too), he creates an entertaining but surprisingly sincere vision of the future of assisted living, a juxtaposition of cranky seniors and the helpful, spastic robots who love them.
“The question is not if health care robots will play a role in the future care of the elderly,” Born explains to Co.Design. “They will. But how? Will they take over routine tasks so that nursing staff has more time for warm human attention? Or will they be employed by efficiency-focused managers as a cost-cutting tool that will increasingly replace humans in health care? That thin line we’re balancing on I find truly fascinating.”
And his work is entirely about that thin line, one where seniors look at robots with the same, baseless grumpiness that’s so confounding to family members who, despite their loving efforts, receive a similar response. Does grandpa adore us, despise us, or is he totally indifferent?
Somehow, Born’s work brings out both the inherent comedy and humility of each of its subjects, all without mocking them for a moment. And ultimately, Born seems to ask the question: Is annoyance just an extension of love? Or is love an extension of annoyance?