OD Photo Prize 2023 | Judges Pick
“I’m delighted to select Sander Coers project POST as my Judges Pick – taking Coers grandparents’ family album as it’s starting point (or prompt), the artist expertly uses AI to expand on the imagery within, both challenging our perceptions of memory, and creating a new world not experienced by its’ historic inhabitants. The same, but different. Like a false memory, what is a truthful representation and what is fiction becomes blurred. Blending the old with the new, and the digital with the physical, the work’s focus on using new technology to re-write the past, both intrigues and unnerves.” – Rosie Wadey
Selected by Rosie Wadey
Photography Agent and Founder, Companion Artists Ltd.
Sander Coers [b. 1997] is an artist working with photography based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, whose work balances the borders of documentary and fiction. With a tender gaze, he seeks to establish new perspectives on masculinity by visualizing, revisiting, and (de)constructing memories in melancholic and highly romanticized worlds that possess a cinematic quality.
Artist Statement | “POST 2023 explores the intersection of constructed memories and perceptions of masculinity in visual culture through the use of AI-generated imagery. I aim to investigate the role of photography in shaping our perceptions of the past and question its authenticity in a digital age where memories can be constructed and manipulated.
As a child, I spent hours immersed in my grandparents’ photo albums, fascinated by the details in each picture. I longed to connect with the people captured in those images and to have a glimpse into the past of my grandfather. In those albums, I discovered a part of my heritage tied to my grandfather’s birth in war-torn Indonesia during World War II. But there was a silence surrounding the past, making it difficult to grasp the full story.
To bridge that gap, I decided to train an AI bot to expand my family history based on my grandparents’ photo albums. These AI-generated images evoke the same feelings and elements found in my grandparents’ albums—landscapes, clothing, and colors from that time.
The link between the concept of memory and masculinity in this project is multifaceted. On the one hand, memory plays a significant role in shaping our perceptions of masculinity over time. By looking at the recurring symbols in the AI-generated images, such as suits, belts, and hats, we can see how these have been used as visual markers of masculinity in different eras.
On the other hand, the project also explores the idea that memory itself is a construct something that can be manipulated and fabricated. This raises questions about the authenticity of our memories, and how our perceptions of masculinity might be shaped by constructed memories rather than actual experiences.” — Sander Coers
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