A Portrait of the Machine

in Culture

Technology and robotics have long been examined in science fiction literature, art, film, and television, often exploring what the future could hold and how technology could be integrated into our lives through both positive and negative perspectives. Today, many of the leading technology companies are working on impressive and advanced robotic creations that have been constructed to benefit humanity.

What these creations mean for the distant future is anyone’s guess, but Polish artist Agnieszka Pilat is a self-described tech optimist who is inspired by the innovations of today’s modern robotics. After moving to San Francisco, Pilat became fascinated with honoring aging technology through portraiture. Eventually, this led her on the path to paint portraits of some of today’s newest, most highly developed machines such as advanced robotics, which she believes to be humanity’s children.

Although Pilat does not consume cannabis, she supports legalization.

“What I’ve always liked about that, you know, [cannabis] culture, is the push towards innovation and also the push towards the outside the cultural norms. I think society really gets a lot out of it,” she says.

Agnieszka and Spot take a walk in New York. (Credit Aaron Richter)

Portraits of Power

Traditionally, art portraits feature people with power, such as aristocrats, the wealthy, or those with religious positions of high rank. Having grown up in Poland during a time when the Iron Curtain still divided Europe, Pilat saw the differences of power on display between Poland and the U.S. To Pilat, portraiture reflects power and aristocracy in society, and once she moved to the states, she saw America’s aristocracy as a machine. This realization has led her to a successful career exploring the cultural significance of machines and technology through her work.

In 2016, she was commissioned to paint a …

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Author: Ashley Kern / High Times

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