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© excerpt from video by Anna Engelhardt

Anna Engelhardt | Fear of the Synthetic Image

Anna Engelhardt is an alias of a video artist and writer. Her video contribution traces the production of images from military simulations to technical interfaces to identify a new political order produced by synthetic content.

Recent debates on the dangers of AI-generated images, or ‘synthetic media’, are gripped by the fear that an image might lose its value as a representation of real events.

Investigative journalists and researchers are used to the demand that photos and videos of atrocities must remain verifiable and traceable to their source, even as they break the news, go viral, and fall through the cracks of NDAs. But while some images have had to be smuggled out of conflict zones, others must be carefully reconstructed, composited, or even generated out of pixels alone. Can they be used to hijack the violence as it unfolds?

Anna Engelhardt's investigative practice follows the traces of material violence, focusing on what could be seen as the ‘ghost’ of information. The toxic information environments Engelhardt deals with stem from structures of occupation and dispossession.

More about UMBAU

UMBAU is an online journal for the promotion of art, research, and design emerging from Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design (HfG). It captures the polyphonic dialogue happening between teachers, students and guests, which extends far beyond the walls of the building and offers those a platform. Through contributions from international artists, scientists, philosophers, historians and designers and students, linked to HfG Karlsruhe, UMBAU unites up-to-date research, while its annual editorial themes enable an in-depth exploration of ideas.

Issue 3 - Chaining - out now!

Contributions can be found on and Instagram @umbau_hfgkarlsruhe.

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