• Master / Slave
    Fondation Cartier, Paris, France
  • Photograph by ___________
  • Photograph by __________
  • The installation in the Cartier Foundation displays Rolf Fehlbaum’s collection of toy robots and delves into the myth of the robot in popular culture. The robot was thought to be a surrogate body that could perform menial tasks leaving man free for more important endeavors. Early on, however, a dystopic fear imagined that the robot could acquire enough artificial intelligence to invert the master-slave relationship. This fantasy guides the display strategy— to tease the viewer with only partial information. Spectators are squeezed into the space between the giant 1000 square-foot glass vitrine and the glass envelope of the gallery. The colony of robots parades on a conveyor belt along a 300-foot long circuit, often sacrificing direct views with scientific ones— through an airport scanning device that broadcasts robotic entrails and magnified information delivered through a micro-surveillance system. The atmosphere of the robot space is modeled on an unemployment office in a generic commercial 1960s building.