In a world where photography and artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly inseparable, a project emerges that combines both in an unusual way. Is about Paragraphica conceptualized camera by Dutch artist Bjørn Karmann which, instead of using lenses or sensors, generates images via AI from text data and the user’s GPS location. It is an artistic project that challenges the conventions on how we perceive and represent the world around us.
How does Paragraphica work?
Camera design and control
To begin with, Paragraphica presents a peculiar physical design, based on a Raspberry Pi 4 coupled with a touchscreen and various custom electronics, all housed in a 3D-printed casing. The distinctive touch is provided by a curious-looking red antenna that, while of no practical use, adds a personal touch to the device.
The camera is controlled by three dials. The first adjusts the focal length of the photo, the second adds grain to the image, and the third determines how closely the AI adheres to the textual description of the image.
Image generation via AI
The heart of this camera is its ability to generate images through AI. It does this by combining GPS data, weather information (through the servers of open weather), the time of day and even the temperature of the area, provided by various APIs.
These data feed stable diffusion, which in turn produces a description of the user’s location. If the user finds that the description is adequate, he only needs to press the “shutter” and the camera generates an image of the place.
The artistic vision behind Paragraphica
Karmann’s project does not seek photographic precision, but rather plays with the idea of how Stable Diffusion interprets a place based on GPS and textual data. The results are not accurate compared to reality, but that is precisely the beauty of the project.
Paragraphica challenges our traditional notions of photography, inviting us to contemplate how technology can reinterpret the world around us. In that sense, it resembles a North American rodent called a star-nosed mole, which uses its tentacles around its nose to sense its environment without light.
At the moment, Paragraphica is not a commercial project, but those interested can try a virtual version of the device through its website.
Creations like Paragraphica show us how technology can change the way we see and capture the world, redefining photography and perception. They challenge us to contemplate new ways of representing reality, reminding us that technology is only as innovative as how we use it.