Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Watson's Ghost, 2021, two 3D-printedPorträts, holografic Video, presented on looking glass technology, 20,3 x 20,3 x 15,2 cm, courtesy the artist and Fridman Gallery, New York, © Heather Dewey-Hagborg


The exhibition Expect the Unexpected – Current Concepts for Photography discusses the new visual worlds which are product of the digital transformation and how current technological developments affect artistic photography. It does so by presenting exemplary artistic positions of the last ten years who have been significantly involved in the expansion and redefinition of artistic photography. In addition to the well-known photographic tools, these artists work with new, photography- based tools such as photogrammetry, 3D scanning, 3D printing, augmented reality, CGI and machine learning.*

Both the exploration of extended photography itself and its exponentially increased possibilities play a role for these artists as well as the question of how digital, networked photography is embedded in socio-political, global contexts and what impact it has on our everyday lives. The interaction between humans and machines becomes the focus: Who is in control, who is the author, the artist or the computer program? Who can claim power of interpretation over the new digital image worlds: The human eye or image recognition algorithms? What new ideas does the tension between reality and virtuality, materiality and immateriality produce? And how do previous image and exhibition concepts relate to the new technical possibilities? Do our expectations of photography still match the reality of a globally networked life dominated by photographs which deepfakes and facial recognition are an inherent part of?

All these questions will be discussed in the exhibition. Photography is understood as a matrix for contemporary ways of working with digital imaging processes and is challenged and examined in the works shown.

With works by Banz & Bowinkel, Tim Berresheim, darktaxa-project, Beate Gütschow, Philipp Goldbach, Spiros Hadjidjanos, Fabian Hesse & Mitra Wakil, Baron Lanteigne, Oliver Laric, Simon Lehner, Achim Mohné, Susan Morris, Victoria Pidust, Johannes Post, Jon Rafman, Michael Reisch, Anna Ridler, Adrian Sauer, Tamás Waliczky, and others.

*please see glossary below

Glossary / Explanation of technical terms

3D Printing
In 3D printing processes, real 3-dimensional objects are built up layer by layer on the basis of computer data (additive process). For this purpose, 3D printers of various designs are used, which can process plastics, metal, concrete, or resin, among others. Recently, 3D printing processes have also been used for the computer-controlled creation of artistic works, for example sculptures.

3D Scanning
In 3D scanning, a real object or environment is scanned using laser or infrared beams, for example, to obtain a 3-dimensional digital computer model. Unlike photogrammetry, 3D scanning captures information on distances, but no colour surface information. Photogrammetry is also colloquially referred to as 3D scanning.

Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) refers to the experience of a real environment in which the real world is augmented by computer-generated content. This can be done, for example, with the help of AR glasses, smartphones or tablets, whereby the viewer can perceive this content as part of the real environment; VR, on the other hand, completely replaces the real environment with a simulated world. AR primarily uses artificial visual and auditory content, but can also enable other types of sensory experiences. AR, unlike VR and MR, is not interactive, but a projection of digital content into the real environment.

Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI)
CGI is the term used to describe fully computer-generated images or parts of images, often based on 3D-4D software. An image created with CGI can faithfully mimic an existing reality, or create purely fictional worlds. In both cases, a CGI can be executed photorealistically and the end product can be indistinguishable from a classic photograph; this is also referred to as synthetic photography or synthetic media.

Machine Learning (ML)
ML (Machine Learning) is an AI-based digital technology, which is used, among other things, for digital image generation. It uses algorithms, which can automatically recognise patterns based on certain input data (training data, datasets, training sets) and apply them, generating numerous variations within the pattern. For example, countless new images of faces can be generated in photo-realistic quality based on several millions of photos of faces of existing persons.

Photogrammetry is a method of creating true-to-scale digital 3-dimensional models based on 2-dimensional photos or other measurement data (laser scans, radar). In this process, numerous photos or measurement data of a motif/object taken from different angles and shooting positions are digitally computed into a 3-dimensional object with the help of a computer program. The photogrammetry software creates a virtual framework (polygon grid, mesh) and also processes all photographic-visual, colour information contained in the original photographs. These are automatically calculated onto the polygon object. Photogrammetry is a recording method: “3D photography”.

An algorithm is generally defined as a specific procedure for solving a problem. It consists of individual instructions that, executed one after the other, transform input data into output data. Algorithms play an essential and indispensable role in mathematics, computer science and the digital world.

Deepfakes are realistic media content that has been deliberately altered or faked with the help of artificial intelligence such as neural networks. Deepfakes are now also easy to produce for digital moving images with the help of apps. For example, in so-called face swapping, a person’s face can be automatically replaced by another.  Digital fakes are generally referred to as digitally faked images, this can be done with the help of image editing programs or apps and is not limited to the use of AI.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a substantial catalogue with illustrations, essays and interviews with the participating artists.

The catalogue will be available from the opening of the exhibition in the museum’s shop.

Languages: German, English
ISBN: 978-3-943676-19-8


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