MA Photography The Image
& Electronic Arts
“Safe Space” is a combination of analogue portraits and images of landscapes created by the AI algorithm gauGAN. The algorithm generates images based on drawings which I made listening to the young people describing spaces that make them feel safe and relaxed.
The work was created as an attempt to understand human’s longing for a safe space that is often imagined as an ideal space, free from self-doubts and fears. After the past year, I had a lot of thoughts about escaping the situation in which we all found ourselves. Making “Safe Space” I was thinking about how we, as humans, deal with the necessity of feeling safe. My interlocutors often admit that sometimes a safe space means a very specific place for them, for instance, a secluded place, surrounded by trees and flowers. Sometimes they could find a safe space in daily life, within the city. The imagined places seem to be at the same attainable and unrealistic. The unrealistic human desire connects with an uncanny AI representation of the landscapes, which is a way to materialize and personalise these spaces.
The landscapes generated by gauGan are combined with analogue portraits. The composition of a picture refers to classical XIX century paintings, which often showed a person with a landscape as a background. A melancholic, romantic atmosphere of longing for something combines with an unrealistic image created by the algorithm. Since the stereotypical thinking about AI is that it can create something in a better way than humans, I found the outcome, full of glitches and unrealistic shapes, quite comic. Because of its imperfection, it reminds me somehow of a human’s way of feeling.
THE PROCESS – PART I
I asked people to describe a landscape that could work as their „safe space”. Listening to their audio recordings, I drew a series of landscapes using an AI algorithm GauGAN.
THE PROCESS – PART II
The series of analogue photographs combine people and their AI landscapes.
Weronika Pawlak is a visual artist and musician, born in Warsaw, Poland. Currently working on finishing MA in Photography: The Image
& Electronic Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London. She works with photography, video, installation and music. She often explores
some of the themes related to the relation between humans and nature, the post-capitalist world and escapism.