With technological innovations quickly rising – particularly with the invention of artificial intelligence –, Hajime Sorayama’s seamless combination of the beauty of the human form and the mechanical has only increased in social and political relevance. In 1983, he released the first publication of his sexy robot campaign, highlighting graphic explanations of technological beauty and opportunity. These eroticized machines symbolize Sorayama’s dedication to exploring the boundaries of racialized bodies and concepts of eternal life.
Sorayama is a primary influence on artists of all mediums. Indeed, he’s inspired other visual artists, film directors, and fashion designers alike. At Pitti Uomo 2016, for example, designer Juun J cited Sorayama as his main influence for his presentation. Focused on androgyny, genderlessness, and futurism, some of his designs even included Sorayama’s sexy robots on their backs. Additionally, Alex Garland’s 2015 film Ex Machina, whose plot centers around the protagonist’s affection towards an eroticized female robot, mirrors Sorayama’s influential designs.
While the public may view robots as machines designed for human consumption, Sorayama portrays them with highly human qualities via eroticization. Sorayama says, “One has to think up robots tied to products like television sets or cassette tapes … [My work is] imaging human nudity through the medium of robots. The robots clearly have a different feel but through that one has the image of the nudity of the real thing.” Particularly in advertising, nudity is almost entirely forbidden and robots challenge this censorship. What is the difference between showing human and robotic anatomy? Should either be censured?
Sorayama is similarly dedicated to creating lifelike models of robots, ones who could move identically to humans. He says, “It works through bone and muscle, but one is drawing skin and, on top of that, one has to show the setup of the bones. If you don’t, it doesn't give the feeling that it is about to move. In the case of female robots, one is drawing skin and body fat.” His commitment to creating the most realistic form possible symbolizes the integration of robotic technology into our daily lives. As we progress more and more into the technological era, machines become increasingly more relevant in our daily lives; we must accept them as part of our society. And his work is clearly helpful in doing so.