Curated by Kerstin Hamilton and Alexandra S. Ellis
Exhibition at Västerbottens museum with Berenice Abbott, Lennart Nilsson, Forensic Architecture, Craig Ames, Kate Crawford & Vladan Joler, Stephanie Dinkins, Krister Hägglund, Tyrone Martinsson and Albert Sten.
Lennart Nilsson’s images installed at Super Sight: A World Viewed Through Technology. Image credit Jakob Joelson/Västerbottens museum
By examining various points in history – from the documentary photographs of magnetic fields and sound waves in the 1950s to today’s artificial intelligence – this exhibition draws attention to how technological development enables different approaches to understanding reality.
The exhibition takes its starting point in the images of scientific phenomena in the late 1950s and early 1960s by documentary photographer Berenice Abbott. Motivated by a desire to portray and explain her contemporary world, Abbott staged photographic experiments. The images presented in the exhibition provide insight into the innovative scientific environments and materials of that time.
Two decades on, the Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson embarked on his photographic journey into the human body. His images were groundbreaking and gained significant international recognition. Nilsson’s visionary ambitions provided people with the opportunity to, for the first time, study something that had not been possible to see before, such as the development of a fetus before birth.
The interdisciplinary research collective Forensic Architecture represents the contemporary era in the exhibition. They expose human rights violations using new techniques and methods, and in a time of “alternative facts,” fact gathering is crucial as a countermeasure against the falsehoods being spread.
In the work by Abbott, Nilsson, and Forensic Architecture, the focus is on reality, and on finding ways to make visible that which is unseen. In the exhibition’s “project space”, a range of contemporary methods in new artistic works are introduced. The artists avail of visual techniques to depict both what exists and what has been digitally constructed with the help of artificial intelligence. The perspectives presented calls for a critical assessment on some of our time’s innovative techniques and images that are generated today. What comes into view are both opportunities and dilemmas brought about by technological development, and questions that arise in their wake.