Sarp Kerem Yavuz presents his cutting-edge photographic collection, WET_DREAMS, created using the generative AI engine Layer.ai. Simultaneously, the exhibition offers a retrospective insight into the artist’s decade-long photographic journey. WET_DREAMS offers a striking, sensual exploration of damp male forms that blend into architectural details of Turkish bath interiors, whilst flames, steam, and wisps of smoke defy the rules of physics to complete the beautiful and surreal portraits.
Following a year-long exploration of different AI engines, Yavuz was invited by Layer.ai to create without any censorship mechanisms. He used Layer.ai to build a dataset composed of his own traditional photographs, and AI-generated images previously crafted with assistance of Midjourney. Incorporating a handful of reference images by Peter Hujar, Ara Güler, Robert Mapplethorpe, along with screenshots of gay porn, the artist constructed his ideal dataset to generate from. Instead of relying on web search terms defining the image content, he was able to associate his choice of words with his images, which resulted in the ultimate linguistic experiment.
In WET_DREAMS, Yavuz explores the rich liminal space between the language he uses to describe his own works, and the language machines use to reference them. His AI works serve as an experiment in language design and auto-orientalism within the realm of machine-learning.
As the images produced are predominantly rooted in his own artworks, the series becomes a tribute to his photographic history and digital future.