/ Daniel Kocherga / Photo story

Dirty Dreaming

In March 2020 I got sick with symptoms resembling COVID-19. I avoided any physical contact with people and did not leave my apartment. Throughout 3 weeks I took food, deliveries and groceries from my doorsteps.

Over time I started to miss familiar things. However, I noticed how I also wish for something out of character — going for a camping trip, running in a park, talking to strangers on a street. Someone else’s desires happened to me as if by error, a thing that’s sometimes called “dirty data” in scientific research.

I started to artificially create the desired scenes through photography: I used a graphical editor to draw my stories and then passed the images to a neural network. Trained on 300 000 photographs of strangers’ lives it made my dreams come true within its own deep dreams.

Once I got my photographs back I was still not satisfied. Being cramped in my apartment I physically felt the anguish while the outcome of my dreams was virtual. In an attempt to make the photographs material I projected them on something that was getting more and more present in my physical space — household waste.

Daniel Korcherga (1988) is a Russian photographer living in Amsterdam.