MAIJA TAMMI [US]
One of Them Is a Human, #1–4, 2017
6th International Digital Art Biennial
Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal
12.01.2022 - 02.05.2023
Maija Tammi (b. 1985) is a Finnish artist and Doctor of Arts, whose photographs and videos examine the liminal areas of disgust and fascination, science and art. She regularly collaborates with scientists and musicians. Tammi’s work has been exhibited extensively internationally, among others in Paris, Berlin, Rome, London, New York, Chicago, and Tokyo, and she has four published books. Tammi currently holds the title Artist Professor for the years 2020–2024.
Tammi’s background is in photojournalism. She has a Masters in visual journalism and she worked as a photojournalist for six years before her artistic career. She completed her practice-based doctorate from Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture in 2017.
One of Them Is a Human #1, Erica -
Archival pigment prints
One of Them Is a Human is a conceptual work that presents three androids (human-looking robots) and possibly one human. It is not told which image depicts a human, if any.
One of the images, Erica, won two awards at the world’s largest photographic portrait prize competition hosted by the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2017, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. The mere shortlisting of the portrait as one of the finalists became a media event; The New York Times wrote: “Do androids dream about being featured in portrait competitions?” and Xinhua news in China wrote: “Portrait of android shortlisted in human portrait competition”.
The rules of the competition state that the image “must have been taken by the entrant from life and with a living sitter.” Whether or not an android is a living sitter naturally depends how “alive” is defined.