Robotic hunting trophies

France Cadet had showed us slides of the Hunting Trophies she was working on during the presentation she gave at De l’objet de laboratoire au sujet social (From Laboratory Object to Social Subject), a week of lectures, screenings and workshops she organized at the Ecole d’Art d’Aix en Provence (France.) That was last November and i’ve been looking forward to see the final result of the work ever since. That day has come, yeah!

0aaalelionn.jpgPanthera Leo (Lion)

Hunting Trophies is a collection of 11 hunting trophies hung on the wall. They feature the most frequent species used in taxidermy for the realization of wall trophies, mainly deer and cat family. Instead of being real taxidermied animals they are chests of modified I-Cybie robots.

An infrared sensor allows the robots, each in its own way, to detect the presence but also the movements of visitors.

0aalesensembb0.jpgWall of trophies

As you approach, the robots turn their heads in your direction, their eyes light up, come too close and the robot suddenly growls. The closer you get, the more aggressive its behaviour.

If you walk fast facing the wall of trophies, a chain reaction will emerge such as a wave of protestation following your walk and manifesting their anger at having been tracked, chased, killed, cut up and exhibited as decorative icons.

0aalephcaocher.jpgPhacochoerus Africanus (African Warthog)

After raising the side effects and dangers of cloning, eugenics, and other animal experiments in Dog[LAB]01 and Dog[LAB]02, France Cadet chose to focus on a problem which concerns each of us as, this time, we cannot pretend that scientists and directors of laboratories or factories are the sole responsible for it: the unequal consideration given to animals and humans and even between different animals species. Nobody would want to eat their pet, but most don’t really care about the fact that some animals are bred for the sole purpose of making food or clothes, that others are hunt for sport, or are the subject of experiments to create unnecessary, yet safe products.

Just how far can we justify human power of life and death over animals?

0aarhinoooo.jpgRhinoceros Unicornis (Asian Rhinoceros)

The idea of the Animal-Machine has long been overtaken by the idea of a pain-feeling animal. Peter Singer argues that because animals have the ability to experience pain and suffering, they should be granted the same moral considerations as any other sentient being.

Besides, these trophies raise new issues about the robots’ quality, function and integration into society: Are they different robots species? Rare species facing extinction? Are they the testimony of a future world where androids would be facing extinction? Or where they would have supplanted real animals such as in Philip K.Dick’s vision? Will we need a Susan Calvin, the robopsychologist of Asimov’s novels?

After all, there are already an AIBO clinic and a AIBO hospital.

In his wonderful book, Les Machines apprivoisées (Tamed Machines), Frédéric Kaplan invites us to reflect upon the place that these creatures could have one day in our society. And beyond that, will we one day be able/allowed to kill robots? With more impunity than animals? Which ones have and will have more value? More respect? More rights?

All images courtesy of France Cadet.

0aacervusss.jpgCervus Elaphus Barbarus (North Africa Deer)