Seen By #18
“Let’s See What We Find”

16.12.2022 to 29.01.2023
Museum für Fotografie

Technologies that produce creative products such as text, musical compositions and images have long been the subject of speculative science fiction narratives. Today they are not only real, but are already in the process of fundamentally changing the field of artistic production. At this art-historical crossroads, the 18th edition of Seen By brings together a total of ten artistic strategies that, although far from being cultural pessimistic, nevertheless critically explore the development of technical creativity and the resulting possibilities from an artistic perspective.

The Rapid Progress of AI-Based Art Machines

Many artists who grew up thinking that the development of an individual artistic visual language requires many years of studying certain subjects, methods, materials and technology, perceive the rapid advance of AI systems as an existential threat to their professional field. For example, the text-to-image generator DALL-E 2, which can be used online,is already capable of quickly generating aesthetically sophisticated images that, if desired, come surprisingly close to a high-resolution photograph. If anyone with internet access and an original idea can create an attractive image within seconds, is there still a need to pay trained specialists?

Clinging to the tried and true in reaction to a still uncertain future, in which machines will be granted an ever-increasing share of creative responsibility, seems understandable, given the already precarious nature of working in the arts. If the fear of displacement can be overcome, however, the still undefined field offers artists the opportunity to help shape it through exploration and experimentation.

Reflecting on Artistic Production at the Interface between Human and Machine

The participating artists from six classes at Berlin’s University of the Arts have used a wide range of techniques, from digital printing and video installation to textiles, sculpture and painting. What the majority of these works have in common is that they were created in the course of collaborations between humans and machines. In this process, images, videos, texts and sounds were initially generated with the help of algorithm-based software and the latest AI technology.

After further steps involving viewing, selecting, editing and combining, the artists then integrated the resulting material into their works. A close examination of the exhibited works ultimately lets us anticipate the manifold artistic applications offered by this rapidly developing field. The works explore the intermediate realm of genres and media, ponder landscape, search for new sounds, reflect on the learning process of artificial intelligences, inquire about the limits and dangers of these systems, play with their errors, and take a speculative look into a future influenced by AI.

With works by Felix Ansmann & Kani Lent, Vero Haas, Phina Hansen, Barbaros Kisakol, Lena Kocutar, Paula Oltmann, Joachim Perez, Matthias Planitzer, Ana Tomic and Martin Haug & Moritz Zeisner

Curated by Sebastian Peter

The exhibition series Seen By

Seen By #18 is part of the "Seen By" exhibition series, a joint project presented at the Museum für Fotografie (Museum of Photography) and organized by the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library), Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK). Its aim is to rethink curatorial and artistic strategies for working with contemporary photography.

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The exhibition Helmut Newton's Private Property will be closed from 7 February to 6 March 2023 for technical reasons.

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