Giclee prints, Various sizes
Fragile Strength draws from a photographic body of work Williams’ created on his journey to Antarctica with the polar explorer Robert Swan. As a young child, Williams always dreamt of venturing to the continent in the footsteps of Captain Scott, inspired by the experience of Scott’s expedition through the black-and-white photographs of Herbert Ponting, the expedition’s photographer. Williams’ own monochromatic images are in direct conversation with these at a time of rapidly increasing technological change, capturing a moment in the centuries-long cycle of melting and freezing. To question our relationship to technological advancement these monochromatic images were then recoloured using a generative adversarial network. The use of machine learning in this way results in uncanny tones and hues which are suggestive of something other, familiar but different. Through this the work provokes a dialogue about the continent’s cycle that is now in transition, on a threshold, suspected but not yet known, at a tipping point in a direction of irreversible change and brings into question our evolving relationship with technology in relation to memory, truth and the natural world.