Jakarta - Intervened and Improvised 2023
Reimagining Photography in a World of Al
In the year 2016, I embarked on a mission to
capture the daily existence of Jakartans through my project “Jakarta—Modest Interventions and Minor Improvisations”. My photographs sought to explore the inventive techniques that the residents employed to cope with the challenges of residing in a rapidly expanding megalopolis. Subsequently, years after,
I revisited these memories by inputting the original photographs into artificial intelligence algorithms, which generated new images infused with an eerie and dreamlike quality that reimagined the scenes.
Contemplating the comparison between my initial images and their AI “postscripts”, I found myself contemplating the nature of memory and the influ- ence of technology on our perception of the past. While the AI emulates the visual style of my images, its interpretations reveal more about the algorithm’s
“comprehension” of the world rather than the essence of my photographs themselves. The disparity between my human memories and the machine's reimaginings accentuates the subjectivity inherent in recollection and representation of our everyday experiences.
Why choose “Jakarta—Modest Interventions and Minor Improvisations” as the foundation for this exploration? The original project offered a glimpse into the human spirit’s resilience and adaptability in the face of urban challenges. These images serve as an apt metaphor for the evolving landscape of photography, where technology has become a powerful tool for adaptation and reinvention. By merging the human experience captured in the original photographs with AI-generated interpretations, we are challenged to question our own perceptions of what constitutes photographic art and the role of technology in shaping it.
Through revisiting my archive of recollections from Jakarta, I unearthed rich soil for experimenting
with AI as a tool for my own artistic expression.
The commonplace aspects of daily life become jumping-off points for producing images that flirt with the line between the familiar and the surreal, the documentary and the whimsical. “Jakarta— Intervened and Improvised” presents a window into a prospective future where AI collaborates with humans, not merely as a subject or a provocateur but as a dynamic and willing creative partner. Here, AI does not replace or surpass human creativity but instead extends our capacity to envision the world around us.
“Jakarta—Intervened and Improvised” is a testament to the transformative power of AI and its potential to redefine the boundaries of photographic expression. Each spread in the book presents the original 2016 photograph alongside an AI-generated image and the prompt used to create it, inviting the viewer to engage in a dialogue between the past and the present, between the human touch and machine learning.
In the following pages, Jakarta is presented as a city exposed and refracted, at once deeply familiar and inexplicably unreal. Ultimately, “Jakarta—Intervened and Improvised” is a celebration of the ever-evolving nature of photography and a bold exploration of the intersection of human interpretation, technology, and art. What it means to create and experience visual art in the age of artificial intelligence.