Family photo albums are a common means of passing down stories from one generation to another. As a child, I spent countless hours poring over my grandparents’ albums, captivated by the small details of each image, wondering who all the people were and longing for a sense of connection to the past. Drawing on my nostalgic reflections of growing up in Zeeland, I trained an AI bot to create dreamlike and melancholic scenes that incorporate the same elements - landscapes, clothing, and similar colors from a particular era - found in my grandparents’ photo albums.

POST explores the intersection of constructed memories and perceptions of masculinity in visual culture through the use of AI-generated imagery. By using this fusion of reality and fiction, I aim to investigate the role of photography in shaping our perceptions of the past and question its authenticity in an age of digitalism where memories can be constructed and manipulated.

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.

The photos are UV-printed on plywood, often used in construction - a stereotypical masculine environment. By printing the images on this material, I create a physical representation of the constructed memories that we hold onto. The images become tangible objects that reflect the fragility of our memories and the impact they have on our present.

POST by Sander Coers

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