Lot 37: Abbey Hepner

Untitled 2
Archival inkjet print on Hahnemuhle bamboo paper
11 x 14 inches
Series: Caretaker Robots
Edition 4/25
Signed verso pencil
Courtesy of the artist
Fair Market Value

BIO: Abbey Hepner is an artist and educator investigating the human relationship with landscape and technology. She received her MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico. Her work explores ethical gray areas where humanity and industry collide, illuminating the increasingly common use of health as a currency. Hepner’s work has been exhibited widely in such venues as the Mt. Rokko Photography Festival, Kobe, Japan; Central Features, Albuquerque, NM; San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA; Noorderlicht Photofestival, Groningen, Netherlands; and the Newspace Center For Photography, Portland, OR. She frequently presents at conferences including the 2015 International Symposium on Electronic Art in Vancouver, Canada, and the 2016 and 2017 Society for Photographic Education conferences.

STATEMENT: While living in Japan, I became interested in the caretaker and comfort robots that were being designed to help care for the aging population there. Humans frequently develop relationships with non-biological persons. This displacement of psychological needs is increasingly common in the digital era, which allows for our real-world psychological needs to be met in the virtual world. In this series, I modified a costume, mimicking the most advanced robots that exist today. The robot’s face is a screen, reflecting the pervasiveness of devices like smartphones and computers, evocative objects that now mediate many of our real-world relationships. The ambiguity in the images reflects the technology itself, one in which we question whether it will help us or hurt us, or perhaps both.

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