Alexia Achilleos


Colonial Landscapes (Cyprus in 1878 by John Thomson) (2020). “Photography was (and still is) a vital aspect of colonialism. The colonial gaze decided how to construct the identity of its imperial subjects, and shared back to the empire their impressions of backwards, exotic cultures in need of Western intervention and civilisation. Photographs from the Wellcome Collection’s archive in London, of John Thomson’s expedition to Cyprus in 1878, as the island was annexed to Britain, have been re-interpreted with the use of artificial intelligence imaging. Originally posed and staged photographs of people, architecture and nature, the AI-generated images portray a ragged, wild, eerily familiar yet alien landscape. While the resulting images resemble the geology of the Mediterranean island, their uncanny quality still holds traces of an exoticised colonial gaze.
Credit: Wellcome Collection”