The Photographers’ Gallery invites proposals for an artist or  collective to develop research and create a new digital commission to be presented online and at the Gallery in February 2025
 

About the commission. 

This free open call is for artists or collectives to undertake or extend research around generative AI, self-made tools or similar advanced technology. The research will in turn form a new commission to feature on Unthinking Photography and at The Photographers’ Gallery.
 

The opportunity is open to artists and collectives working with photography, digital and moving image practices. The selected artist/collective will receive a £4,000 fee and £5,000 production costs. Applicants can be based in the UK and internationally.

Proposals should consider:

  • how the proposed project can be contextualised historically, in relation to photography, wider visual imagery and knowledge production
  • how the practices and processes used within the proposed project might be preserved

The commission might address ideas (but not exclusively) such as:

  • The networked image
  • Corporate imperialism
  • Synthetic images, as including of generative AI and a part of computational photographic practices
  • The ecological effects of large language models and image generation
  • Alternative and DIY approaches
  • Images as coded data
  • Ecological approaches
  • Human in the loop
  • Materiality of servers and servers as archive
  • Regulatory frameworks for synthetic images 


 

Context

The Photographers’ Gallery’s digital programme is undertaking an ambitious research project exploring the intersections of photography, imperialism, and networked culture. It traces the transformation of photographic practices from the socially aware political contexts of the 1980s to the realms of computational, machinic and artificial intelligence (AI) practices of today.
 

The ongoing research, supported by Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, takes three publications as a starting point:

It will look at photography criticism and history, alongside the ontological shift that has taken place in the medium through the proliferation of digital cameras, the Internet, and the digitalisation of culture, apparent in Flickr, ImageNet and Instagram.

In recent years, as AI practices have become more advanced, technology companies rely on the networked qualities and values of digital photographs to inform pre-established ground truths. To compensate for shortcomings in their resulting models, they create and employ various algorithmic strategies within their ever more vast datasets through scraping.

Producing synthetic imaging and data as input for AI models are often suggested as solutions to what is considered a technological problem. These solutions allow models to generate millions of additional images to enhance machine vision or diversify content.

However, this approach can lead to both an ‘overcorrection’ and ‘model collapse’, where AI becomes overly reliant on synthesised information. This raises questions about which area of reality AI images represent: are AI images in touch with physical-world contexts, or do they instead represent our visually mediated network relationships.

Application process

Applications are now open and accepted through the Submittable platform.
 If you have any accessibility requirements and would like to send an application in any other format, please contact us at digital.programme@tpg.org.uk.

Deadline for Submissions: Sunday 16 June 2024, 17.00 BST
 The commission will be selected by Sam Mercer (Producer, Digital Programme), Ioanna Zouli (Editor, Unthinking Photography) and the artist, coder and researcher Winnie Soon.

The commission will be selected by 15 July 2024.
 A schedule will be drawn up with the artist(s) with the work expected to be completed by December 2024. We are not conducting interviews, however if any questions arise during the shortlisting process about your proposal, we may be in touch.

The commission will be presented on Unthinking Photography and at The Photographers’ Gallery from February – June 2025.

We will be holding a limited number of one-to-one sessions.
Book here for 15 minute sessions on 21 & 22 May 2024. Question and answers from these sessions may feed back into the FAQ below. Please read the application guidelines and context before booking a slot.
 

Find out more here

The Photographers' Gallery