Colonial Landscapes

2020

Series of GAN-generated digital images

The British photographer John Thomson’s photographs of Cyprus in 1878 are a reflection of the political, ideological and cultural concerns of his time. His orientalist photographs of the island and its natives, posed and staged, decayed and in need of salvation by the British empire, helped shape the image of Cyprus that its colonists sought to communicate. Photographs from the Wellcome Collection’s archive in London, of John Thomson’s expedition to Cyprus in 1878, as the island was annexed to Britain, have been re-interpreted with the use of artificial intelligence imaging. Originally staged photographs of people, architecture and nature, the AI-generated images portray a ragged, wild, eerily familiar yet alien landscape. While the resulting images resemble the geology of the Mediterranean island, an uncanny quality remains.

Credit: Wellcome Collection

Installation shot, Rescaping exhibition at Limassol Municipal Art Centre, Cyprus, 2022. Photo: Pavlos Vrionides
Installation shot, Rescaping exhibition at Limassol Municipal Art Centre, Cyprus, 2022. Photo: Pavlos Vrionides
Installation shot, Forking Room 2022: Canary in the Synthetisphere, Ujeongguk Art Centre, Seoul, South Korea 2022. Photo: Alexia Achilleos