Mädchen auf einem Stuhl Polaroid



Sandbox is on the one hand a sandy playground for children, on the other hand a term originating from software development for an “isolated area within which any action has no effect on the external environment”. (Wikipedia)

We are sitting in a large virtual sandbox that is anything but isolated. There are many toys in it that we don’t know what they are for. And new ones are added every day. We explore them playfully and in the process we come up with ideas – good or bad….

One such toy is Dall-e 2, one of the most celebrated AIs of 2022, which can create realistic images and even artwork from a text-based description in natural language. This creative act is new and unique, and must be judged as the next stage of evolution.

The works Dall-e generates are almost perfect, and yet she generates strangely disturbing outputs in response to seemingly innocuous keywords. It begs the question, is this the toy we would give our children?

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For a long time, the Polaroid was considered an analogue and authentic one-of-a-kind. But nothing is real here: these people never existed. They are outputs of an interaction between me and the artificial intelligence Dall-e, which I “fed” with terms. This resulted in strange figures that shudder at second glance. Where does it lead to when artificial intelligence can generate deceptively real historical-looking images? Does this change our view of the past?

Here, AI-generated motifs and Polaroid photography form a symbiosis as a possible past.

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Alte Frau hält Schädel in der Hand Polaroid

Deep Vanitas


What is real? What is unique? Polaroid photography embodied both for a long time. Today, it is experiencing a renaissance both in its original form with the help of old Polaroid cameras from flea markets and in hybrid form, i.e. analogue-digital, app-controlled or even entirely digital.

Here, nothing is real: for this work, I let an AI generate thirty-three portraits based on baroque models. Therefore neither the scenes nor the people depicted ever existed. And yet the Polaroid as a medium lends this work something plausible and authentic.

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Gartentor Polaroid


The Doina is a folk music style with Arabic-Persian roots and is native to Romania. It is comparable to the Portuguese fado or the Afro-American blues; hence it can be described as “musical lamentation”. Typical for it is the free rhythm and improvised coloratura of a traditional melody. In this way, a singer or musician can perfectly express his feelings and virtuosity.

Similar to the Doina, these eight Polaroids show a place of longing that, with the help of the technical inadequacy of a Polaroid camera, is repeatedly distorted and thus varied. This place will be removed from its spatial and temporal allocation. This merges the present with the past and reality with fiction.

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Polaroid der Künstlerin Erika Kassnel-Henneberg

Pink Noise

“Noise” is a physical disturbance variable with a non-specific frequency spectrum, which is perceived acoustically as a high-frequency noise. (Wikipedia)

Memory is also a kind of “non-specific noise” in the head. It resonates unnoticed in daily life, influences thought and action and shapes our identity.

The Polaroid camera makes memory visible. It has a subjective and inaccurate view of the world. In it, the present rushes and leaves a daring glimpse of the past. Its outputs are like EEGs – recordings of brain waves that reflect the world in unspecific noise.

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