The Merge

The Merge explores and visually interprets the possibility that our reality does not exist as we believe it to, but that instead we live inside a simulation.

Philosophers have been questioning our perception of reality since Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. This existential discussion gained new interest in 2003 when Oxford University philosopher, Nick Bostrom, published “The Simulation Argument”, which argues that life on earth could indeed be a computer simulation.

Since then, academic debate has been raging and multiple high-ranking technological specialists, such as Tesla founder Elon Musk, have publicly confessed to the theory. Elon Musk’s reasoning is based on the exponential haste in which artificial intelligence is developing. It will not be long before we are able to create perfect simulations of our own experienced reality. This leads people to speculate that if we can create perfect simulations, then we might only be programs inside a simulation run by others.

 

The Merge visually entertains the simulation theory. It artistically investigates the consequences that supercomputers, artificial intelligence and robots might have on our future society. By looking at interactions between man and machine, it explores how this accelerated digitized paradigm will affect our emotional, social and moral norms. 

The project employs an array of photographic tools to explore  how human existence could change as we move rapidly towards a point in history where physical and digital worlds may become so intertwined, that it will be impossible to distinguish between the two.  

Now is the time to document how the revolution of artificial intelligence and robotics may be rapidly changing our world. The Merge aims to debate the subject’s complexity, and the images balance realism and imagination, leaving space for multiple interpretations, and engaging a dialogue with the audience about the landscape of our future; If life is a simulation, where should we look to understand the world we live in?

Bio 

Peter Helles Eriksen (1984), Sara Brincher Galbiati (1981) and Tobias Selnaes Markussen (1982) are all based in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

In 2015 they formed an artistic collective, which finds inspiration in documenting issues founded on theories and first-person accounts, rather than fact.. When collecting their complex material, the collective is influenced by anthropological methods.   The collective had their first international solo show in 2016 (Rencontres d’Arles), which coincided with the release of their book Phenomena. They have been nominated for Prix de la Photo Madame Figaro and are presented in the collection of Musée Réattu.

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Martin Zalba’s World

Martin Zalba’s images are quite unique as he defined a very strong style over the years. Here are some samples of his work and if you want to know more about him, read his long interview andenjoy a strong portfolio in Shades of Grey Fine Art Photography magazine N°7

 

I am an amateur photographer who evolves in the way we see the world and how to reflect it personally. Photography helps me to put my personal evolution, aesthetic sense, capture the emotions and feelings that I try to convey through an image that captures specific moments of my life. Photography is the supplement of my other passion: music composition. I’ve always written my music by associating pictures, listening colors, lights and shadows and my picture happens the same way: try to express through it the silence that speaks in the atmosphere of the night, and my melodies want to evoke memories trapped in a beautiful sunset, evoke the impressionistic vagueness of imaginary worlds infrared, discover the intimacy of a cadence that looks at the macro and architectural photography because music is a building of sounds and both arts are very present in my creative search.

I want to highlight a very important place for photography as part of my artistic life as in music (my profession and passion). I think it’s necessary to make periodic breaks because you have to renew, study other artists and expand and refresh the mind. Otherwise we do same thing in different ways. There comes a time when it no longer moves more. At least that’s what happens to me and why I periodically alternate photography and composition. I am now disappeared in the composition after a year of intense activity. After 20 consecutive years of musical creation, I saw the need to be almost 8 years without composing and break came in handy because then I continued with renewed ideas and above all, more mature (at least I think so). I consider photography in the same way: as an art in which the creator has its creative processes of maturation and rest. So I quit temporarily when I see that my creativity stagnates. I am not satisfied with being a mere amateur photographer, I look for something else.

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Olivia Gay – Envisagée

“At a distance of a photojournalism which favors the decisive moment and images shock, Olivia Gay continues the long and patient quest for a look. Next on the work in all its forms – whether it is insane or rédimé – and on women, which it narrates the meeting each time singular, and which she paints the portrait subjectivé in the form of this “envisagement” dear to the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. They are prostitutes, lacemakers, cashiers, labor, models, Citadines, nuns, detained, refugees, each is thus part of a community of women who “resistant”, in spite of everything. Resistant: thus will the women of Olivia Gay. For as much, not of feminism at the Simone de Beauvoir: the artist puts rather in before the concepts of “discretion”, “home” and “Contemplation”, thus leading a search of individuation. The pictorial model irrigates these subtle portraits and “pardoned”, which testify to an immersion at each time renewed in specific worlds, and what this could appoint a spirituality of the face.

 

“Dominique Baqué historian and art critic

LA MEP
Maison Européenne de la Photographie
5/7 rue de Fourcy, 75004 Paris 01 44 78 75 00 – www.mep-fr.org
M° Saint-Paul (ligne 1) ou Pont Marie (ligne 7)

Ouvert du mercredi au dimanche de 11h à 20h
Accès à la billetterie jusqu’à 19h30 Fermé lundi, mardi et jours fériés

What does Brexit mean for love?

A portrait series by Laura Pannack

Separation is a series of 13 portraits that explore the angst and myriad emotions experienced by London-based couples who, as a result of Brexit, have been forced to contemplate separation. Brexit has long garnered column inches for its political implications, but what does it mean for love?

We were planning to get married at some point in the future but the referendum result hurried us along” – Stuart and Giulia

The couples that feature in Separation are all of different nationalities: one half of each is British and the other half from elsewhere in Europe. The nationalities of the featured couples are: British, Italian, Finnish, Bulgarian, Spanish, Polish, Swedish, French and German.

At least one half of each of the couples featured in Separation works in London’s creative sector, a diverse and thriving industry that has long been a draw for Europeans moving to the capital. The job titles of the couples include: film programmer, arts tutor, sound artist, graphic designer, animation designer and professional drummer, amongst others.

View the full series on the Brithis Journal of Photography at  www.bjp-online.com/tag/laura-pannack-brexit

Jana (German) and Luke (British)

 

Jana: We love London. Despite being financially squeezed, we managed to buy a small two bedroom flat in Islington. It is is our home and gives us everything we need to live a happy life in London. We are part of the local community and have made many friends. Our daughters are going to nursery and school here and we don’t really want to move.

 

After the referendum we thought a lot about relocating our family to Germany, and we still do. Although the UK is our home, the uncertainty, not only with my status, but also with the UK economy, has made us consider a move. There is so much instability in the UK and a lot of stability in Germany. Our lives there would be more predictable and more secure. Our German community has also shrunken drastically. Out of the eight local families we used to meet regularly, six have moved back to Germany. This is not all down to Brexit but it was definitely a contributing factor. Britain’s future out of the EU will be bleak; I can already feel it crumbling around me.

Nadia (Italian) and Paul (British) Photographer, tattoo artist

 

Nadia: I had a view of Britain as a multi-cultural melting pot that accepts everyone and embraces difference. When the referendum result was announced, it was clear that the reality is very different. I am sad that this nice country, one that once accepted the world, is closing its doors, but at the same time I don’t feel pushed away by the vote. Brexit means that Paul will need to marry me so I can stay in the UK.

 

Paul: I voted Remain. In a world already so divided, the idea of Britain going at it alone does not seem right. The referendum result was a surprise for me. After living in the UK my whole life, and growing up surrounded by a mixture of cultures, I am open to the world and what it means to have cultural differences. I hope that the decision to leave the European Union was not just about immigration and border control.

Mirjami and Adam

Graphic designer, support worker

 

Mirjami: When Brexit happened, I took it personally. I come from an immigrant family and had been exposed to racism and stereotyping throughout my childhood. I was born in Finland but my parents are Chinese so I’ve always felt like an outsider. When I moved to London, I felt like everyone came from elsewhere for the first time; everyone looked different, everyone felt like they belonged. That made me feel like I belonged here too.

 

After the Brexit vote, I felt that same feeling I had felt as a kid, like I’m not wanted and I’m just a nuisance to the locals. That made me bitter and angry and I felt this massive gap between me and British people. As Adam himself is British, sometimes I felt that gap between us too, even though he did not feel the same way. Adam also resented the referendum result, but he has always remained nonchalant in his belief that it won’t have any bearing on our relationship and future.

JOEL MARKLUND DOCUMENTS THE LIVES OF SWEDEN’S SAMI PEOPLE

F

Sweden’s indigenous and unrepresented community is brought into focus through a powerful portrait series

Nikon European Ambassador Joel Marklund has completed a unique project profiling Sweden’s community of Sami people – a subject close to his heart. With his D5 and NIKKOR lenses, Joel aimed to go beyond the stereotypes he feels the Sami community is associated with, showcasing their everyday lives through a series of intimate portrait images.

The Sami people traditionally inhabit a territory known as Sápmi, which traverses the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola peninsula. Although divided by the formal boundaries of the four states, the Samis exist as one group, united by cultural and linguistic bonds and a common identity. Joel wanted to communicate the true nature of this identity and move beyond surface-level perceptions of ‘reindeer herders living in the mountains’.

“The best stories aren’t always the ones in the most exotic or remote locations,” comments Marklund. “I was determined to cover something I believed in, something that really mattered to me. The Sami story has not been told by many, so, having grown up in Boden near to where some of their communities resided, it was one I felt both compelled and humbled to tell.”

To document what it is like to live as a Sami today in Sweden, Joel spent six weeks visiting the community, embedding himself in the lives of twelve of its people – from singers and dancers to drum makers and students – to tell their individual stories. During the project, he paired the D5 with the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4GAF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G and AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II.

Joel’s images reveal the Sami people in both their traditional environment, wearing traditional clothing called ‘gákti’, and their day-to-day working lives that are more intertwined with the rest of society. This cultural contrast runs through the series.

For example, Joel discovered Marika Renhuvud helping her family with the reindeer slaughter before learning, after a few days of photographing Marika, that she was a student at Ballet Academy Stockholm.

Maxida Marak, meanwhile, who grew up in Stockholm, before moving to live among a traditional Sami community, has headed back to the city to become a successful singer, while another story follows Merethe Kuhmunen, a student aiming to promote LGBT rights in Sápmi.

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