Artificial Intersections

near. x LabElysée
29.01 – 01.06.2020

A project developed by near. swiss association for contemporary photography, the LabElysée and Gaël Hugo (one more studio).

What happens when Photo Elysée meets near. in order to question Swiss photography through the prism of machine learning?

Initiated in 2018 under the name AI is near, the project allowed visitors to discover the work of the association’s photographers through a choice of keywords detected by algorithms. In this second chapter entitled Artificial Intersections, the Photo Elysée and the association near. are joining forces to offer a new corpus of several thousand images from the Photo Elysée’s collection of Swiss photographs and the photographs of near’s members. As in the first issue, the computer analyses the content of the images in order to index, compare and sort this new database by keywords.

Invited to select a keyword or submit an image from their smartphone, visitors participate in the curatorial process between human and machine. The result, which is then displayed live on the screens, gives a glimpse of the potential of the learning machine as a curator. Why not ask the machine to organise a landscape or portrait exhibition? Can we compete with a machine capable of (re)knowing in detail the images of a corpus as vast as that of one of the most important museums entirely devoted to photography? Throughout the three months of the exhibition, the intersections generated by this interactive experience are recorded in order to keep a trace of them and thus map the exploration of the database.

near. swiss association for contemporary photography

near. was founded in Lausanne in 2009 and its principal aim is to promote contemporary photography.

The association organises activities set around four main objectives: to promote and disseminate the work of Swiss and Swiss-based photographers for established talent as well as young artists; to enable a continuous cultural exchange between regions and among professionals in the field of photography (artists, historians, critics, curators, journalists and editors); to actively contribute to critical thinking on the subject of contemporary photography; and finally, to advertise Swiss photography to a wider audience.

Among other things near. organises exhibitions, screenings, interviews, conferences and gatherings between professionals.


The exhibition is generously supported by the Loterie Romande, the BNP Paribas Switzerland Foundation, the Federal Office of Culture and the Canton de Vaud.