TRAUMA PORN | by Boris Eldagsen & Tanvir Taolad

Installation on War & Trauma

Vintage Photographs, Promptography (AI-generated images), Objects 2023 – Ongoing
What is TRAUMA PORN?

TRAUMA PORN is an experimental installation, addressing trauma as a long-term consequence of war.

Using vintage photography from Nazi Germany and WW2 as a source material for AI-generated and altered image worlds, the work tries to recreate the traumatic flashbacks of Eldagsen’s father who went to war when he was 16.

A totalitarian regime needs people who carry out its crimes – and those who support them ideologically or through their passivity. This work focuses on the latter. It is the attempt to enter an average person’s mind being sucked into the abyss and not being able to get out of it.

To balance out his bias, Boris teamed up with Bangladesh artist Tanvir Taolad, to bring out the timeless aspects of the image material. He also invited Spanish photographer Carlos Collado to assistant in the creation of AI-generated images.

This work is rooted in history – but sadly timeless. Therefore, we dedicate the work to the brave people of Ukraine.

STRUCTURE

The work consists of three image categories. Each category is presented in an individual way so that it can be formally distinguished.

Historic photos | 1940s vernacular photography, mainly b/w private photos taken by German soldiers and civilians. Framed behind glass, in small brown wooden frames.

B/W and colour images | created by Boris & Tanvir – altering the historic photos through collage, chemical destruction, and AI. Printed as wallpaper or mounted & framed in a box frame.

Promptography | AI-generated images that look like a b/w photo from the 1940s, created by Boris (and his assistant Carlos Collado) –  using the historic photos and altering them through AI. Glued directly onto wallpaper and wall.

The installation has three chapters.

Part I | Pre-War: Building a totalitarian system, gearing up for war.

Part II | War: Atrocities, destruction, death.

Part III | Post-War: Trauma, loss, displacement, hidden memories. In the 3rd part, the original images are turned against the wall, so that users can only see their backside. Some of the images are hidden in the installation.

Introduction to the work by Dr. Petra Bopp

Dr Petra Bopp (*1943) is a German art historian and internationally renowned expert on photography in Nazi Germany and war photography in the 20th century. between 1995-2001 she was coordinator of the exhibition Vernichtungskrieg. Verbrechen der Wehrmacht 1941 bis 1944″ and curated 2009 the traveling exhibition Fremde im Visier. Fotoalben aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg”.

Download German Text | English Text or watch the German introduction in the video below:

Exhibition View | Neue Galerie im Höhmannhaus, Augsburg
(As Creative Conference on War, Trauma & AI, 23.-26. November 2023)
Exhibition View | Guelman & Unbekannt Gallery, Berlin 
(German Premiere, 17.-25. November 2023)
  • photos by: Christoph Linzbach, Denis Grigorev, BE
  • video by Stan Gross
 
Exhibition View | International Photography and Media Art Festival, Čiurlionis Art Gallery, Kaunas / Lithuania
(World Premiere, 2.-31. October 2023)
Part I: Pre-War
Part II: War
Part III: Post-War
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