and the sooner the better

October 19 – 22
Open evening 20 October 6-9pm
Electro Studios Project Space
Galleries will be open Thursday to Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Seaside Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN38 0AL

Twelve photographers explore ‘another intelligence’

“and the sooner the better!”
All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace, Richard Brautigan

“The term “artificial intelligence” tends to position technology in opposition to the natural world. But are they coming to help us, to free us of our labours? Let us think of them as they learn for themselves and remember their mistakes, as they think of us. But they are already here, already deeply ingrained in our everyday lives. So let us look for evidence of this unnatural world, for the touch of a ghostly hand. Let us look for evidence of the touch of this other.”

Curated by Neale Willis
Featuring work by: Anne Lydiat | Gary Willis | Jude Montague | Louise Whitham | Luiza Machado | Mango Collins | Neale Willis | Ornagh  | Richard Butchins | Roger Hopgood | Tim Wilcocks | Tracy Jones

Exhibitors

Anne Lydiat - The Presence of Absence/The Absence of Presence

Anne Lydiat

The Presence of Absence/The Absence of Presence

My fascination with the presence of pebbles/stones/rocks began with a gift of 7 white pebbles my husband Chris Wainwright brought me back from his first trip to the Arctic. I individually placed these Arctic mementoes onto a sheet of blank white paper and drew around each one with a suspended pen from the roof of my boat moored on the River Thames. The resultant traces of the presence of these pebbles seemed in stark contrast to the absences left behind when they were removed.

I repeated this process whilst afloat with white chalk pebbles from the Thames riverbed, stones collected on voyages around the Scottish Highlands and made wind drawings around rocks collected from the shores in Taiwan.

For the drawings in the AI show I constructed a tripod out of three bamboo garden canes tied together with a length of string suspended with a pen attached. For AI drawing 1 (left): I left it outside from dusk til dawn. In the AI drawing 2 (right): I also left overnight and discovered that it had rained.

annelydiat.com | @anneonrock

Richard Butchins - Frida

Richard Butchins

Frida – from the Floricide series

Exploring the rich tradition of floral symbolism in Nature Morte, whilst deploying a darker more visceral lexis, contemporary symbolic representations of exclusion and otherness, and experimentation with AI.

richardbutchins.art | @thewitheredhand

Mango Collins

Mango Collins

Entropy
A process of degradation or uncertainty in a system which can be reversed using organisation and effort.
Silvertown, London and Rock-a-Nore, 2023

@mangocollins | mangocollins.com

Roger Hopgood - Contested Objects

Roger Hopgood

Contested Objects

One of the fears of AI in relation to photography and visual culture in general is that truth and authenticity are threatened. Perhaps this is justified, but even before the arrival of digital technology there were instances where separating ideas of fact and fiction in the visual arts was not straightforward. Many forms of photography rely upon invention and artifice. And of course, ‘found’ material has long been employed by creatives.

In the case of museum artefacts, which are often perceived as a dependable store of accumulated factual evidence, there are times when ‘truth’ is called into question. The term ‘contested object’ is often used to describe an artefact that is now felt to be wrongly part of a museum’s collection. It may be that an argument has come to the fore that contests the ownership of the artefact or challenges the ‘truths’ that have generally been ascribed to it. Cultural artefacts and the portrayal of Others is another problematic area when it comes to pinning down facts. It might be said that, in the subject/object relationship that characterises the looker and the looked at, ideas of authenticity are often hazy and questionable. This work conjures up new ‘historic’ artefacts with the help of AI. The ‘truths’ told by objects of the past are playfully meddled with.

@hopgoodroger | rogerhopgood.co.uk

Gary Willis

Gary Willis

‘Intelligence, Disturbed’…

Images exploring how some photo searches were meddled with and disturbed by something unintelligent out in the ether when downloaded…

seawalksandotherstories.blogspot.com | @garywillis.snaps

Louise Whitham

Louise Whitham

Chemical experiments with polaroid photography

Is the eye able to recognise chemical transformations on the surface of photographic paper images as Photographic? I pose that chemical works like this have a new association with AI, not just in the way they disassociate us from the real world but in the way he eye travels through a hallucinogenic unfolding dreamscape.

I wonder at the long term changes in the ‘association machine in the head’. Might we becoming less struck with epic gravitas in seeing similar seductive and sublime poetic planes of colour texture and light?

@louisewhithamphotography

Neale Willis - boston_1920_0014_Screenshot-2021-02-21-at-21.58.21

Neale Willis

The Birds Sing Sweetly (video, 5 mins)

Let us think of 23rd June 2016. Having spent the night at the Premier Inn, Boston, two characters head off to explore the Lincolnshire countryside. Their journey is set against a backdrop of computer generated Nightingale song, created from the votes cast in the referendum.

The result was announced around 3.00am, long after we had retired to bed.

X said they weren’t prepared to listen to the inane chatter anymore and in any case, staying up wouldn’t change the outcome.

We wake to the sound of a large family squeezing down the corridor outside the room, the persistent shushing of the parents not enough to quell the excitement of children heading to a buffet.

X said they would have the bacon but it was paler than expected so instead they opted for the fruit salad. High pitched clinks of cutlery on porcelain interrupted hushed chatter somewhat more pronounced than it had been on previous days.

Returning to our room, X stated they would be ready to leave at 8 but it was now quarter past and the hair drier drowned out the TV from the bathroom. On the screen, the podium made him look small as the off centre frame lingered on the speech. X is ready now.

We walk through the foyer, past the clutter of building work, scheduled to finish in September, and out into the car park. A pleasant June day greets us, just a hint of cloud hangs in an otherwise blue sky.

It is late morning when we reach a cafe on a corner of the A52. X insists on stopping and going inside, the promise of tea and biscuits proving too much to resist after our morning of exploration. Retiring to a table outside ‘The Traveller’s Rest’ X gingerly squeezes tea bag between finger and thumb before dropping it onto the saucer.

A pause in the otherwise incessant traffic is punctured by a flurry of chirps coming from beneath a bush on the opposite side of the road. X informs me it is a Nightingale.

Ornithology is a hobby in which X takes great pride, and as a gesture to prove the depth of knowledge at their disposal, a pointed finger rises through a haze of biscuit crumbs to announce, ‘Thrush’ in response to small brown bird sat on the picket fence behind us.

The grey noise of traffic arrives again.

X takes a sip of tea but this does little to quell the burgeoning argument taking place inside the cafe. The clink of cup meeting saucer brings to attention the vehement chirps of the Nightingale and Thrush. X suggests their disagreements are in someway related and points out that in any case, whatever the disagreement happens to be about it is probably insignificant compared to what the birds have to deal with.

The cafe door swings open to an abrupt “Bollocks”. A burly man in a white t-shirt takes his leave and heads eastward along Sheepgate. A high pitched chirp signals the exit of the Nightingale, taking flight southward toward Boston.

In an attempt to engineer an exit X leans back before swinging forward, palms meeting thighs with a slap. “Shall we?”

nealewillis.com | @nealewillis

Tim Willcocks - Remembering Fire

Tim Willcocks

Remembering Fire

Photographs exploring the memory of fire as part of thinking about the idea that the classical elements have a sentience, an intelligence, an elemental memory. How they react and behave is determined by their experience and memory of the past. These images made digitally, rendered to black and white, and then colourised using an AI tool, so their final appearance is determined by an algorithmic ‘intelligence’. Extraordinary results.

@timwillcocks_photographer | timwillcocks.com

Jude Montague - Boo Boi Katz in AI Anxiety-Land

Jude Montague

Boo Boi Katz in AI Anxiety-Land 2023

montaguearmstrong.com | @montaguearmstrong

Luiza Machado

Luiza Machado

My background is in fine art, with photography and painting being a large part of my practice.

@luizamachado2591 | lensculture.com/luiza-machado

Ornagh Lynch

Ornagh Lynch

Orns 👁️👁️☁️☁️

…are delightful characters, resembling fluffy clouds with large, expressive eyes. They radiate positivity and cuteness, capturing the essence of joy and optimism. These lovable creatures symbolize your positive thought patterns. With their buoyant nature, they embody your optimistic outlook on life. Orns have a magical ability to dance gracefully when your mind is aligned and in a harmonious state. They are the embodiment of the uplifting energy that fills your thoughts and helps you maintain a positive mindset.

@ornaghworld

Tracy Jones - From a train, The Landscape in Motion

Tracy Jones

From a Train – The Landscape in Motion 

Panoramic photographs taken from a moving train’s window with a moving camera. The images are made using a digital camera, the ‘intelligent’ software of which is doing the best it can to make sense of the scene and the movement.

The camera acts as my eye moving across the view from the train window whilst travelling through the landscape. The images are taken through a mesh screen on the train window creating moiré or interference patterns recording the multifaceted movement of both the motion of the train and the eye combined.

These works form part of a large and multi-disciplined body of work ‘From a Train’, a series periodically returned to over many years.

tracyjones.studio | @tracyjones_studio

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