Sara Bastai creates surreal photography with artificial intelligence
Our Next Generation 2022 showcase highlights 22 exceptional graduates from around the world, in seven creative fields. Here, we draw the portrait of the photographer Sara Bastai, graduate of ECAL, Lausanne
Portuguese artist Sara Bastai uses artificial intelligence as a collaborator for an unusual dialogue. In RAM_1.0, The AI ââanalyzes the visual data in Bastai’s photographic memories, creating new readings of caption-like images which, in turn, inform fabricated scenes.
“A woman holds a piece of food up to her mouth,” reads one of the AI’s interpretations. Bastai’s response is a tactile image of a shiny skinned person eating a strawberry. âA group of people posing for a photoâ becomes strangely choreographed. The banality of the subtitling contrasts humorously with the subtle absurdity of the constructed works.
Speaking of the process, Bastai explains that while AI is present as curator, director, and cataloger, her own life and the lives of her friends are intertwined. It gives the impression that the characters represented are parts of her, alter-egos perhaps.
Another curious element is when the AI’s misinterpretation and Bastai’s memories collide. For example, the data repeatedly identifies pink ties and toothbrushes in his memories, but Bastai makes room for him to have that power and thus portrays whatever he dictates.
With these reimagined memories depicting a dialogue between real life and a computer interpretation of data, Bastai draws our attention to the limits and possibilities of trusting technology to catalog and share our lives.
Dream collaborators: âOver the past year, I have been quite intrigued by female artists such as Caroline Polachek, Oklou, Lykke Li, to name a few. I find their musical sensitivity quite fascinating, but an interesting challenge for my practice. I would love to find ways to interpret and translate their musical sensations into visual environments. ‘