THIRD PRIZE AND THE JOHN KOBAL NEW YORK AWARD: Maija Tammi

Third Prize and the John Kobal New Work Award for a photographer under 35

ONE OF THEM IS A HUMAN #1 (ERICA: ERATO ISHIGURO SYMBIOTIC HUMAN-ROBOT INTERACTION PROJECT)
Maija Tammi

Inkjet print, December 2016
Third Prize: £2,000 and £5,000 John Kobal New Work Award

The winner of the £2,000 Third Prize and the John Kobal New Work Award for a photographer under 35, is Maija Tammi from Finlandfor her portrait of a Japanese android called Erica. Erica is a highly advanced robot, programmed by her creator, Hiroshi Ishiguro, to understand and respond to a range of questions and is able to express different emotions via dozens of pneumatic actuators embedded beneath her silicone skin. Tammi wanted the judges to consider the advancements made in artificial intelligence and the rapidly blurring lines between man and machine. ‘I wanted to question what it is to be human and what it is to be alive,’ says Tammi.

Maija Tammi (b.1985) undertook a Master of Social Sciences in visual journalism and is currently studying for a PhD in art photography at Aalto University, School of Arts Design and Architecture, Finland. Her work has been seen in group exhibitions in the US, Germany and the UK and her solo exhibition White Rabbit Fever has toured to Finland, Italy and Japan.

Judges comments: During the judging process, only the title of each portrait is revealed. It was unclear whether the girl was a human or an android, and this ambiguity made the portrait particularly compelling. Tammi’s portrait offers a provocative comment on human evolution.