Dolly Dearest: Photographer Captures Human Desire in the Artificial
Artist blurs line between synthetic and biological love.
Let’s play a game: take a look at the following picture and think about how it makes you feel, what emotions seeing it conjures up.
Whimsy? Innocence? Delight? Maybe even sweet affection?
Okay, let’s try another one:
Heartache? Reconciliation? Perhaps a touch of passion?
Of course the title of this piece, plus the taglines in the images, sort of gave it all away. Yes, one of these people isn’t, technically, a human being.
Creating life—and love
In case you’re interested, June Korea—a 34-year-old South Korean photographer living in New York City— — is the young man in each of these scenes.
As reported by RocketNews24, Korea was struck by immense loneliness after realizing everyone he knows will eventually pass away. He then became fascinated by the idea of love dolls—especially their artificiality, and thus practical immortality.
After purchasing Eva, Korea began documenting his relationship with her in a series of evocative images posted to Instagram. What’s particularly fascinating about his work is that while Eva is technically an inanimate object, he seems to take extreme care not to objectify her. It’s hard in most of his images to tell if Eva was born or manufactured.
Korea and Eva enjoy a a day in the park:
Taking a break from a stroll:
And every relationship has its ups and downs:
Living a fantasy
Korea is clear, though, that he understands that Eva is a construct. On his site he writes that he uses his photography to give her a sense of life: “an imagined world using the medium of photography, and gave birth to her. Photography works as a bridge that connects the real world “where I live” to the fantasy world “where we live”. In other words, our relationship happens in the fantasy world she and I live together.”
Korea playfully looks forward to a possible future where Eva could become much more lifelike, perhaps after being installed with AlphaGo—an artificial intelligence system developed by Google’s Deepmind project that recently defeated a human player at Go.
Even though Korea uses his art to give a sense of life to Eva, he still very much feels he is in a relationship with her:
“I am basically mixing my experiences of my former/current relationships, emotions, and imaginations with the skills I’ve developed in the past 16 years … Eva and I sleep and wake up together. We go shopping, dining, driving, and even travel together just like ordinary people do in their real lives. We laugh and cry, we feel happy and lonely just like all people living in our urban world.”
Unusual or first steps?
While some might look at June’s photographs with confusion—if not outright disapproval—what‘s striking about his work is the sense of humanity he gives his relationship with Eva: he’s absolutely right that he gives her a sense of life in each image.
He is also correct that, with the way things are developing with robotics, as well as programs such as AlphaGo, it’s really a matter of time before Eva’s liveliness exists beyond his photographs.
Korea and Eva clearly have a relationship—a perfect example of those who’ve created a new form of intimacy with the artificial. And they are hardly alone: there is a large and growing community of people who have chosen to be involved with their chosen form of sex doll, often preferring it over human interaction.
Couple with the fact that more and more people say that they would engage in erotic activities with a manufactured lover, it’s obvious that Korea and Eva are less of an exception. They are proof of what may very well become a common—and even widely accepted—form of sexuality.
Images source: June Korea