The Merge explores and visually interprets the possibility that our reality does not exist as we believe it to, but that instead we live inside a simulation.

Philosophers have been questioning our perception of reality since Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. This existential discussion gained new interest in 2003 when Oxford University philosopher, Nick Bostrom, published “The Simulation Argument”, which argues that life on earth could indeed be a computer simulation.

Since then, academic debate has been raging and multiple high-ranking technological specialists, such as Tesla founder Elon Musk, have publicly confessed to the theory. Elon Musk’s reasoning is based on the exponential haste in which artificial intelligence is developing. It will not be long before we are able to create perfect simulations of our own experienced reality. This leads people to speculate that if we can create perfect simulations, then we might only be programs inside a simulation run by others.

 

The Merge visually entertains the simulation theory. It artistically investigates the consequences that supercomputers, artificial intelligence and robots might have on our future society. By looking at interactions between man and machine, it explores how this accelerated digitized paradigm will affect our emotional, social and moral norms. 

The project employs an array of photographic tools to explore  how human existence could change as we move rapidly towards a point in history where physical and digital worlds may become so intertwined, that it will be impossible to distinguish between the two.  

Now is the time to document how the revolution of artificial intelligence and robotics may be rapidly changing our world. The Merge aims to debate the subject’s complexity, and the images balance realism and imagination, leaving space for multiple interpretations, and engaging a dialogue with the audience about the landscape of our future; If life is a simulation, where should we look to understand the world we live in?

Bio 

Peter Helles Eriksen (1984), Sara Brincher Galbiati (1981) and Tobias Selnaes Markussen (1982) are all based in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

In 2015 they formed an artistic collective, which finds inspiration in documenting issues founded on theories and first-person accounts, rather than fact.. When collecting their complex material, the collective is influenced by anthropological methods.   The collective had their first international solo show in 2016 (Rencontres d’Arles), which coincided with the release of their book Phenomena. They have been nominated for Prix de la Photo Madame Figaro and are presented in the collection of Musée Réattu.

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