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Polaroids from the Ottoman Empire

Sarp Kerem Yavuz has been experimenting with the Midjourney Generative Artificial Intelligence program since early 2022. Through this technology, he has created a series of photorealistic images that blend the dreamlike cinematic style of Alejandro Jodorowsky with the emotional sobriety of Magnum photographer Ara Guler. These AI-generated images offer a glimpse into an imagined reality featuring a present-day Ottoman Empire led by an accursed Sultan who made a pact with a djinn in 1917 to reclaim Ottoman territories lost during World War 1. To enhance the believability of these fictional documents, the artist chose to print them on Polaroids using the Polaroid Lab and classical 600-type Polaroid film. The nostalgic texture and slight fuzziness of the Polaroid positives remove the uncanny valley effect, creating an illusion of authenticity. The anachronistic use of Polaroids, which did not exist during the actual collapse of the Ottoman Empire, further emphasizes the fictional nature of the depicted scenes.

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