Welcome to Erewhon
In the automated city of Erewhon, inhabitants freed from chores devote themselves to leisurely activities. Purring robots care for the elderly. Cats map out the territory. Vacuum cleaners waken to sensuality. Pigs have their brains enlarged. Erewhonians move about in tubes, live in spas, and experiment with lifestyles in which humans, animals, plants, and machines are connected by a strange kindness.
Episodes from the series Welcome to Erewhon will be released online from December 2018 to June 2019.
We are exploring a city that produces itself behind screens: in the advertisements for our technological devices, the videos employees record in call centers, the ones we share when we watch cats playing with vacuum cleaners.
It’s a city where machines are responsible for work, and take care of humans. An engineer’s dream, in which we all participate by watching these videos, and pushing them to the top of platform playlists.
We’re not trying to imagine the future. We are exploring a particular form of our imagination. We are documenting early twenty-first century fantasies of automation. This city exists, but it can’t be located at a specific point on the Earth’s surface, whose geographic coordinates can be clearly identified. It is made up of images circulating on the Internet. Its existence consists of being diffracted within the network.
We are documenting a city that exists today behind our screens. We have not produced any of the images ourselves. We borrow and arrange based on images found on the network. The film’s chapters consist entirely of shots taken from the Internet, of “found footage.”
Yet wandering at random through the warehouses, offices, and streets where automated cars circulate, we soon recognize Erewhon: a city located nowhere (the title is an anagram of this word), discovered by the British explorer Samuel Butler in the travel narrative he published in 1872 – Erewhon. We have carefully reread his novel. There is no doubt that we have stumbled on the same city.
Erewhon has a distinctive feature: machines have a kind of autonomy, they’re subject to evolution that is similar to that of biological species, in which only those individuals best adapted to their environment survive. While they have neither human nor animal consciousness, machines transform themselves in order to adapt to their environment and the living species they come in contact with, especially humans, who they treat with great kindness.
In Samuel Butler’s novel, the inhabitants grow fearful of the evolution of machines and destroy all of them; but in the images we see, machines are now freely pursuing their evolution. This is one of the enigmas that have marked the rediscovery of Erewhon: one hundred and fifty years have gone by, and the city has changed entirely.
How do Erewhonians live today?
Machines are entirely responsible for production. They produce, store and distribute everything that humans consume. They reproduce themselves.
Humans therefore only work toward their own happiness. They are available for games of all sorts. And childhood extends well beyond its usual limits.
Tuberides, Acquasplash Franciacorta - Black Hole Waterslide, 2018
Interlake Mecalux - Warehouse solutions, How to build an automated clad-rack warehouse Timelapse Interlake Mecalux, 2016
Wall Street Journal, Automating the Grocery Warehouse, 2016
The British Library, Riding the robots – Inside the British Library, 2015
Automha SpA, Automatic Fabric Rolls Warehouse (The biggest one in the world), 2015
ÜÇGE Depo Raf Sistemleri, UCGE DRS ASRS Box mini-load storage (Highest in Europe!), 2016
Warehouselogistics, Automated Guided Vehicles, Storage and Retrieval Machines, 2XL N.V., Warehouse Automation, 2015
Warehouselogistics, Storage and Retrieval Machine, High-Bay Warehouse, Logistics Software, Vinamilk in Asia, 2014
LogismarketAT, Regalbediengeräte für Paletten, 2014
Witron Logistik, Fully automated picking in the frozen goods warehouse, 2013
Vollautomatisiertes Tiefkühllager mit Shuttles - Effizienz bei -24°C
Vanderlande, Vanderlande Mocroshuttle, 2015
Warehouselogistics, Storage-retrieval machine for bins, cartons and trays – Schäfer Miniload Crane, 2015
SP Tech World, https://youtu.be/H1HhPxKpyfw, 2017
Witron Logistik, The Warehouse of the Future – WITRON’s OPM Technology at Meijer in Wisconsin, 2017
Stewart & Tate Construction, Drone Footage of Warehouse Construction, 2016
One2Feed, Feed pusher Double Goats - Automatic feeding, 2016
Racing-46, Storagetek Sun Oracle SL8500 tape library, 2015
Nedap Velos Group housing system for sows
bubbyangel, robot of boobs massage test (patent Original), 2008
Aurrigo Driverless Technology, Aurrigo and JLR's 'Virtual Eyes', 2018
Ikinamo, Sushi Robot and Patisserie Robot _ DigInfo, 2009
Strait Times, Close-up of robot masseur at NovaHealth TCM clinic, 2017
John Chen, Udacity SDC Project 5 project video final, 2017
Joel Vautour, Home Disco Club, 2012
Kazumichi Moriyama, Riken & Tokai Rubber Industries RIBA-II 1_2…, 2011
Spencer Channel, Real-Time Multi-Modal People Tracking for Mobile Robots in Crowded Environments, 2015
lakshmimanoj, Optical Flow, 2008
Octinion, Strawberry picking robot, 2016
adriss, Dome-Shaped Greenhouse in japan, 2014
feedmixer, NDE 3806 Triple Auger Mixer, 2011
Oppent S.p.A., EVOcart™ - Automated Guided Vehicle for the Healthcare, 2015
AltaTech TR, Warehouse Robotics System, 2015
Kuka - Robots & Automation, Kuka mobile robotics iiwa, 2015
CNet, Doctors, nurses...and robots, 2015
CMC Industries - Ciemmecalabria, Apollo Generation 2 - The Chicken Harvester, 2016
BoumaticRobotics, MR-S1 Milking Robot, 2013
Georgia Farm Monitor, Future Of Agricultural Technology In Development At Georgia Tech, 2015
新闻中国, 看看阿里巴巴这纪录片 就知道马云双十一为什么能卖1207亿了, 2016
TheWeird RemixA, Dropping Camera down the Deepest hole on Earth, 2018
Neil Jones Event Videography and Live Streaming, Grassdale Feedlot aerial view, 2017