A sculpture arrived to our offices! Recently, Mexican sculptor Rogelio Fernández created a great piece of art inspired by robotics and gave it to PAL Robotics: a bust named Posthuman. It represents a Roman bust with electronic elements in the back of his head. His intention is to “express the transformation that humanity is experiencing when interacting with technology, which is now applied to all the aspects of life”.

Art and robotics: CTO Luca Marchionni with the artist Rogelio Fernández.

PAL Robotics CTO Luca Marchionni with the artist Rogelio Fernández.

What’s the idea behind this bust?

Some experts say technology is changing not only our lives, but ourselves too. This piece of art makes us think about these changes going on nowadays. Where is humanity heading to? From Fernández point of view, we are leaving behind a humanist period, in which people lived without being conditioned by technology. “According to the philosopher Nick Bostrum, now it is a transhumanist period: the human being is on transition”, says sculptor Fernández.

Now we are between humanism and posthumanism, where we will use technology to transform our lives and ourselves. “Human beings will not be defined in the same terms of the time when technology didn’t affect their life as it is now”, explains Fernández. The idea behind the sculpture is that “we are coming into the new posthumanist era, in which humanity must realize that we have to live with intelligent technology, as it is the robot”.

Fernández makes clear that “it is not a bad change; it is a broad horizon opened to humanity, and can bring many benefits”. The artist points out that now, as the Arts professor Robert Pepperell defends, the human being is not the most important being of the universe, so we have to leave pride aside. Now humans need to learn how to coexist with this technology and Artificial Intelligence, while “respecting the nature, and treating vegetation and animals in terms of protection and dignity, as Nick Bostrum notes”, explains Fernández.

The elements

All the elements that make the bust are carefully thought by Fernández in order to reflect that posthumanist period where we are heading to, without forgetting where we come from:

Arts and robotics

The Posthuman. Author: Rogelio Fernández

The bust

The bust is a Roman man because it was in that era in which humanism was on its maximum expression. It symbolized the identity of the portrayed. The facial expression “means conviction, firmness, determination”, says Fernández. The artist sculpted him with Roman military clothes to represent “the warrior nature of the human being to transform its life, dominate substance and control its environment, and also an eternal fight for the truth and against ignorance”.

The electronic elements

The electronic elements want to remark the contrast between periods and allude to this new posthuman nature that humanity is acquiring. According to Fernández, the electronic items “mean the transformation of the human in his own mind, in his own thoughts as something irreversible”. They also refer to the technological progress, which are “capable of potentiating our natural habilities, and breaking with any classical or humanist concept”.

The color

The blue tonalities evoke the most frequently used colors in digital cards, but it is also linked to other concepts like “infinite, the ocean” or the color which is “associated to mystery, the unknown”, remembers the sculptor. Perhaps it’s this unknown horizon we are heading to, where technology will help us but it’s not defined how yet.

About Rogelio Fernández

Fernández is a Mexican sculptor that has created many pieces of art, which you can see here. Now he is doing a PhD in Arts and Design in the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and he is running an investigation called “Posthumanism and Technological Identity in Sculpture”. From here, we thank him so much for this great piece of art!