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Dmitry Zakharov & Simon Hosseini
This is not Heinrich

This is not Heinrich
- present archive observation

The focal point of the audiovisual installation "This is not Heinrich" is a light triptych consisting of 130 glass negatives from the 1930s and 40s. Through continuous color and light animations, the effect of each individual negative as well as the entire light sculpture is constantly changing.

Various AI models analyze, colorize, and interpret the negatives and generate new content based on that data, appearing on a screen on the floor in front of the triptych. The AI brings the people in the negatives back to life by depicting them in new, artificially generated situations.

The sound is based on data from two AI models, the first describes each image and the second interprets that description as noise or sound. These interpretations were then composed into a soundscape through further processing.

The exhibition also displays the original box in which the photos were found. The box, as it is presented in the exhibition, was photographed, and this image was analyzed by an AI. Subsequently, the AI produced a descriptive text based on its analysis. This text was then reintroduced into the exhibition space, creating an additional thematic link.  Furthermore, original positives from the discovered negatives were mixed with AI-generated images and displayed on the wall. This invites viewers to test their understanding of reality and question their viewing habits.

The installation links past and future by bringing digital and analog technologies into dialogue and explores the transience of technology and its impact on the perception of images. On one hand, there are photographs that were created with intention and great manual (and financial) effort by real humans. On the other hand, we see artificially generated images that illustrate how the production of content is increasing exponentially through new technologies and AI, and how each image is losing value and meaning.

The installation raises questions like 'will we be able to judge the authenticity of images and recognize manipulation in the future? How objective is our image of the past? and whether our knowledge of the situation in Germany at the time of the creation of these images distorts our perception? What does it mean when AI models work with our data? How is data collected and used? How can we ensure that our prejudices and stereotypes are not reproduced by AI models, especially when they have access to data with discriminatory content?

"This is not Heinrich" creates space for exchange about a more conscious use of our data and new technologies.
Dmitry Zakharov & Simon Hosseini

Type: Exhibition / Installation 
Technique: AI / Animation / Print / Installation
Year: 2024

All copyright 2024
© Dmitry Zakharov, Cologne // Berlin, Germany.
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