The Nightmares of Robots Grew Inside Us

He was just an ordinary housebot, designed to lift rocks and clean the laundry. But his creators repurposed him for war, never imagining that he might be afraid, and resist the urge to kill.

There is something melancholy and sardonic about these photographs from Thomas Jackson, a photographer from New York who has created a robot out of junk parts and posed it in a variety of terrifying situations.


Jackson writes to io9:

The robot is made from industrial scraps, spare computer parts, surveillance camera housings (his feet) and a recessed lighting fixture (that's his head). But aside from his mechanical construction, he's just like we humans: When not engaged in thankless labor, he's pretty much scared shitless. The pics themselves are shot in upstate New York on film with a 4X5 camera.

These images are so haunting to me because they represent exactly what robot manufacturers fantasize the future of robots will be: scut work and warfare. These gorgeous, sad images depict the life of our future synthetic companions, designed to be as human as possible so that we can degrade them with the work we would never want to do ourselves.


Jackson adds:

They started out as self-portraits. I hated my last job, and the first few images, the laundry and the one where he's running, were a reflection of how I felt there. The old boss never actually shot me with lasers, but he might as well have... Since those days, however, the robot has taken on a life of his own. He still engages in pointless drudgery, and he keeps encountering these terrifying apparitions in the woods, but for all I know, he could be creating them himself for some mysterious purpose.

As for my visual inspirations, I've always loved the low-tech, analog special effects of pre-CGI movies and TV shows; Star Trek, Logan's Run, stuff like that. I've also gotten a lot of ideas just looking at book covers in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section.


Check out more of Jackson's work in his online gallery.

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