Ephemeral memories

Alternative storytelling with images from JPhotoarchive

15. November 2023. – 15. December
MegnyitóOpening: November 14, 2023, 6:00 pm
MegnyitjaRemarks by: Faludy Judit
KurátorokCurators: Martincsák Kata, Menyhért Juci

The responsibility of family memory, and within that of Jewish memory, is a key issue that concerns us all, especially in the light of the ongoing conflict in Israel. This exhibition explores how can an online collection, the “JPhotoarchive.org” – 20th century Jewish Photo Archive, be presented in the form of an exhibition that critically examines the conflict between the preservation of the values of Jewish memory in Hungary and the modernization of archiving.

The photographs of the archive will be presented unconventionally with the use of fictional storytelling and artificial intelligence-based image-generating technology, to explore how our relationship to memory is being transformed by the growing possibilities of photo manipulation, artificial intelligence, and the rise of fake news. What will happen to memory (and history in a broader sense) if it is shaped by AI? Can fiction – whether formed by the artist or by artificial intelligence – fill the missing gaps of untold stories, or will it just create confusion?

Reflecting on the tradition of storytelling, which is a key element in Judaism, the exhibition aims to use current technologies to bring the archival images to life, thus moving them out of their static state; to bring the partially or completely lost stories of the photographs to life with fictional stories. The video installation by performance artist Eszter Andrádi responds to this by using free association-based storytelling, using archive material to invite the past into the present, creating an alternative narrative and fictional planes of space and time.

Szabolcs KissPál’s work reflects on the growing number of artificial intelligence-based photo-manipulation tools in our time, the unequal relations between the hierarchy of memory, and the resulting identity crisis caused by forgetting. His photographic manipulations aim to highlight the delicate and fragile relationship between memory and visual data storage in the age of generative images. The result is a video installation that follows the evolution of images to reveal a very particular narrative, and that is organized around a final question: Who owns the truth?

Contributors to the exhibition: Beatrix Basics, Péter Barta, Lívia Huber, Helga Haiman, Judit Faludy and András Lénárt