There are more images of tigers than there are living tigers in the world.

In our collective imagination tigers are common, and to us they seem to be everywhere: in fashion houses, on cereal boxes, on t-shirts… while in reality they are hardly to be found. Technology can change the way in which we perceive reality.

Three Thousand Tigers is an attempt to expand the digital fauna of an animal in danger of extinction, referring paradoxically to the idea of saving a species. The work reflects on the linguistic parallelism between the natural world and the production of images.

Working with a generative algorithm, Irene Fenara creates new images, great new animals and new species that are born from the union of three thousand images of tigers, the number of living tigers, images that retain only a few of the characteristics of the original animal. If it is to learn to recognise and reproduce, a generative algorithm needs millions of images. Feeding it an inferior number therefore produces results that are distant from reality.

Generating and reproducing are the only salvation from natural, and digital, extinction. The piece thus reflects on how files are reproduced and how they lose quality over time and with the development of computer technology and software design.

This change is not only natural; it is also a change in the status of the images.

Project presented in Giovane Fotografia Italiana #08 | RECONSTRUCTION


Irene Fenara

(Bologna, 1990)
Irene Fenara studied sculpture and visual arts at the Bologna Academy of Arts. She has been selected as a finalist for a variety of prizes including the ING Unseen Talent Award, Amsterdam 2019; the Premio Cairo, Milano 2019; and the Premio San Fedele, Milano 2017. In 2019 she won the contemporary photography section of the Francesco Fabbri Prize for Contemporary Arts, Pieve di Soligo. Residencies she has held include The Blank Residency, Bergamo 2017; the Q-Rated residency, Castello di Rivoli 2018; the CAMERA Futures – European Photography Platform, Turin 2019.
Her work has been exhibited in shows such as Metafotografia. Dentro e oltre il medium nell’arte contemporanea, curated by Mauro Zanchi and Sara Benaglia for the BACO gallery in Bergamo in 2019; AROUND ME. Traces of Presence in Biopolscapes curated by Carlo Sala for the Fondazione Francesco Fabbri in Treviso in 2018; That’s IT! Sull’ultima generazione di artisti in Italia e a un metro e ottanta dal confine, curated by Lorenzo Balbi for the MAMbo in Bologna in 2018; L’altro sguardo. Fotografe italiane 1965 – 2018 curated by Raffaella Perna for the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome in 2018; Essere politico curated by Filippo Maggia for the Fondazione Fotografia Modena in 2017; Give Me Yesterday, curated by Francesco Zanot for the Fondazione Prada Osservatorio in Milan 2016; La Disfatta dell’Immagine, curated by Carlo Sala for TRA, Treviso 2016.
Her own shows have included Distant Eyes curated by Christiane Rekade for the Kunst Merano Arte in 2019; Blinds and other Cloudings, curated by UNA for the Spazio Leonardo in Milan 2018; Supervision, curated by Mauro Zanchi for BACO in Bergamo 2018; and Le interne differenze for P420, Bologna 2017.

Since 2012 Fenara has held a scholarship at the Fondazione Collegio Artistico Venturoli in Bologna where she has her studio.