Sara, Peter & Tobias
12 July - 11 August 2018
The British Journal of Photography and TJ Boulting are proud to present The Merge, the solo exhibition of the winners of the International Photography Award 2018, a collaborative work by Copenhagen based documentary photography collective Sara, Peter & Tobias. The Merge explores and visually interprets the possibility that our reality does not exist as we believe it to, but that instead we live in a simulation. Could it be that our world is just a construct – a created illusion?
Philosophers have been questioning our perception of reality since Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. This existential discussion gained new interest in 2003 when Oxford University philosopher, Nick Bostrom published The Simulation Argument, which argues that life on earth could indeed be a computer simulation. Since then, academic debate has been raging and multiple high-ranking tech-people such as Tesla founder Elon Musk have publicly confessed to the theory. Elon Musk’s reasoning is based on the exponential haste in which artificial intelligence is developing. It will not be long before we are able to create perfect simulations of our own experienced reality. This leads people to believe that if we can create perfect simulations – we might only be programs inside a simulation run by others.
The Merge visually entertains the simulation theory. It artistically investigates what consequences supercomputers, artificial intelligence and robots have on our future society. By looking at interactions between man and machine it explores how this accelerated digitized paradigm will affect our emotional, social and moral norms. The project employs an array of photographic tools to document human existence as we move rapidly towards a point in history where physical and digital worlds will become so intertwined, that it will be impossible to distinguish between the two. The time is now for documenting how the revolution of artificial intelligence and robotics is rapidly changing our world, real or not.
The Merge aims to debate the subject’s complexity and the images balance between realism and imagination, leaving space for multiple interpretations and engaging a dialogue with the audience about the landscape of our future: If life is a simulation, where should we look to understand the world we live in?
Peter Helles Eriksen (1984), Sara Brincher Galbiati (1981) and Tobias Selnaes Markussen (1982) are based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Sara, Peter and Tobias met while attending the Fatamorgana School of Photography in Denmark, where they now share a studio. They made a name for themselves with their first project and photobook, Phenomena, in 2015. This debut project, an anthropological study of UFOs and extraterrestrials, was exhibited in 2016 at Rencontres d’Arles and nominated for Prix de la Photo Figaro. Since their initial collaboration, the collective has developed a conceptual and subjective approach akin to documentary, which considers issues founded on theories and first-person accounts, rather than fact.
BJP INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD
Now in its 12th year, British Journal of Photography’s International Photography Award recognises the best of contemporary photographic talent. The award has been instrumental in launching the careers of some of the most influential and respected photographers today, giving them the opportunity to be recognised and celebrated by the international photographic community. This is the fourth consecutive year it has been hosted by TJ Boulting, recent winners include Daniel Castro Garcia, Dominic Hawgood, Juno Calypso, Felicity Hammond, Chloe Dewe Mathews and Edmund Clark.
This year’s judging panel were:
Alona Pardo, Curator Barbican Art Gallery
Fiona Rogers, Global Business Director Magnum Photos
Fariba Farshad, Founding Director of Photo London
Hannah Watson, Director of TJ Boulting and Trolley Books
Mark Sealy MBE, Director Autograph
Simon Bainbridge, BJP’s Editorial Director