Photography Through the Lens of AI

Press release | Amsterdam, April 2024

Foam is thrilled to announce a manifestation on Photography Through the Lens of AI, zooming in on the latest developments on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in photography. In recent years AI has started to make a big impact in the world of photography, changing the way we make and see images. The multidimensional project consists of a group exhibition Missing Mirror which is accompanied by the solo exhibition of Paolo Cirio – AI Attacks (part of Foam’s recurring Next Level series), a thematic issue of Foam Magazine (#66: Missing Mirror), along with a digital presentation on Foam’s online platform Explore.

A self-portrait of an algorithm no. 89, 2023 © Maria Mavropoulou / AI-generated image.

Since its inception in the 19th century, photography has undergone a constant technological evolution. From traditional darkroom techniques to the transformative potential of software such as Photoshop, image manipulation has remained a key part of the medium. The latest advancement however, AI, has set off a new era in photography, enabling the creation of images that exhibit astonishing realism while being fundamentally divorced from reality. In Photography Through the Lens of AI, Foam explores the intersection between art, technology, and society, highlighting how the recent advancements in AI impact our relationship with images, ourselves and our perception of reality. This focus on technological development in photography has been integral to Foam’s programming, in past exhibitions and in the magazine, and Foam will continue to do so going forward.

Group exhibition Missing Mirror

Through four distinct themes the exhibition invites the visitor to look beyond the surface of AI. In chapter one, Missing Body, artists give shape to a physical appearance of AI. The second chapter, Missing Person, reflects on AI's capacity to become a substitute for humans — not necessarily in physical form, but rather by expressing the immaterial essence, such as the existence of an AI personality or identity. In Missing Camera, chapter three, AI fills the position of the camera for events that never took place or could never have been photographed. Lastly, in chapter four, Missing Viewer, artists reflect on one of the most threatening developments, the absence of people: AI functions and perceives on its own, without the need of humans. The exhibition showcases the work of international artists who reflect on the danger and potential of AI.

Featured artists:
Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah, Alexey Chernikov, Louisa Clement, Lynn Hershman, Christopher Meerdo, Maria Mavropoulou, Milo Poelman, Miti Ruangkritya, Philip Schütte, Brea Souders, Alexey Yurenev.

Next Level: Paolo Cirio – AI Attacks

Besides the group exhibition, there will be a solo exhibition of Paolo Cirio. The exhibition AI Attacks focuses on the social implications of AI systems, machine learning AI models, and the use of data. Cirio sees AI as a form of automated violence, expressed through surveillance, discrimination, and disinformation. With his work, he challenges power structures by exploring AI for his counterattacks. This Next Level solo exhibition builds upon the thematic group exhibition Missing Mirror, new work will premiere in his solo exhibition.

Virtually distorted landscape

Vistas #22, 2020

© Brea Souders.

Blurred mugshot of a man, N2, from the series Obscurity, 2016

© Paolo Cirio.

Virtual blinking eye

Eye 4 detect perceive explore, 2023

© Milo Poelman / text Davinci 003.

Foam Magazine (#66: Missing Mirror)

Foam Magazine #66 delves deeper into the recent advancements in AI impact our relationship with images, ourselves and our perception of reality. When authenticity and authorship are being questioned, how do we form a truthful image of the world? And what does the introduction of generated imagery mean for the medium of photography? This and more will be explored in Foam Magazine through artistic contributions and in-depth essays from thought-leaders in the field.

Portfolio artists:
Alexey Yurenev, Clément Lambelet, Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah, Juan Manuel Lara, Brea Souders, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Tan Chui Mui, Vishal Kumaraswamy, Jonas Bendiksen, Gregory Eddi Jones, Leda Sadotti, Maria Mavropoulou, Joan Fontcuberta & Pilar Rosado, Igi Lola Ayedun, Morehshin Allahyari

Digital platform Explore

Foam's digital platform Explore, will feature a selection of contextualised content to get a better understanding about AI in photography. The online presentation called Ctrl.Alt.Img delves further into biases in artificially generated images and inviting the visitor to contribute their thoughts about AI. The project is a hybrid collaboration with creative research studio affect lab. Visitors can generate their own AI images with the interactive AI photo booth Ctrl.Alt.Img in the museum.

About Next Level

With the support of Ammodo, Foam has been organising the exhibition series Next Level since 2015. The series aims to introduce a broad public to innovative art created by mid-career visual makers who make ground-breaking use of the medium of photography. Foam has invited Paolo Cirio for the Next Level exhibition in 2024. He has been commissioned to create new work that will be premiered in the exhibition.

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Note to editors

For more information and visual material please contact the Press Office of Foam via

The group exhibition Missing Mirror is made possible with the support of the Mondrian Fund, RiwiColloType, Oschatz Visuelle Medien and Kleurgamma Fine Art Photolab.

The presentation and online adaptation of Ctrl.Alt.Img is a collaboration between Foam and affect lab and is funded with the generous support of Cultuurloket DigitALL.

Foam especially thanks the Foam Friends Foundation and Foam Fund for their contribution to this exhibition.

Next Level: Paolo Cirio – AI Attacks is made possible by the generous support of Ammodo.

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