A funeral procession, eulogy and lament bids adieu to photography in the AI age – New Exhibition

ANU School of Art and Design students are holding a ‘playful’ funeral and a wake for photography in collaboration with PhotoAccess on 15 June. Photo by Neha Attre

Is Photography dead in this age of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Do we need a new language to describe the images generated by AI?

To continue the ongoing discussion in the photographic community, the School of Art and Design (SoAD) students are holding a "playful" funeral and a wake for photography in collaboration with PhotoAccess on 15 June at Manuka Arts Centre.

Dr Katrina Sluis, Head of Photography and Media Arts in SoAD, recalls the time in 2012 when she was appointed as the first digital curator at the Photographers Gallery in London at a time when the world was taking a digital turn with social media and camera phones.

“Now, with AI generating images, it is once again an exciting but challenging time. The rapid generative of AI in the last six months raises questions about ethics, cultural practices and the way we value different kinds of creative labour. At this point, it’s not important to focus on the output of such image systems but on the whole system through which images are harvested, statistically analysed and created. I think it’s a great opportunity for artists to probe and intervene and open up this black box.”

Recently, Sony World Photography Award winner Boris Eldagsen from Germany refused the prize as the image had been created using artificial intelligence. Last year, Jason M Allen won the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition with his AI-generated image which raised a lot of questions.

The conversations continued at SoAD which had developed a five-week program for 27 Arts students in collaboration with PhotoAccess. “The students deep-dived into the crisis in photography the world is experiencing today. Discussions on the changing world of photography were part of the program,” Dr Sluis said.

For the project, the students decided to conduct a funeral as a “playful and engaging event” for the public to raise thought-provoking questions.

The event Photography is Dead! Long Live Photography features a funeral procession, a lament being performed, slideshows on the life of photography and visitors signing a book in the mourning room.

The Photography is Dead! Long Live Photography event will be held at Manuka Arts Centre, 30 Manuka Circle, Griffith on 15 June from 6-8 pm. No registration is required for the event. For more details, click here.