Today I have been re-examining the the design for the Space Rock audio player, based on the concept suggested by the Oblique Strategies app that I installed recently: Use fewer notes.
“Oblique strategies is a set of cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt used to break deadlocks in creative situations. Each card contains a (sometimes cryptic) remark that can help you resolve a creative dilemma. Whenever you’re stuck you draw a card and ponder how it applies to your situation.”
Something I have been meaning to experiment with for a while – a simple animation of some of the phone collages I have created for my Happy Half Hours. The first one is Interference Patterns (full Flickr set here).
A test print of the Space Rock (v1) to acquaint myself with 3D printing processes and techniques. This prototype is largely to test the potential for including the Arduino elements within this shape (and others later on). Once the electronics work and can be fitted, this will be filled and sanded for a smoother outer finish.
February’s talk looked at DeepDream as a window on aesthetic experience (Owain Evans, University of Oxford) and GANs in an art context (Anna Ridler, Artist).
Owain Evans, Postdoc, University of Oxford
“Deep Dream as a Window on Aesthetic Experience”
Deep Dream produces intriguing, dog-filled images. This talk is not about these images but about process that generates them. I’ll explain the process and consider how it sheds light on human aesthetic experience. Deep Dream works because the neural network automatically computes “resemblances” between disparate objects: e.g. between a meatball and a dog, or a cat’s ear and a beak. Our own ability to see these resemblances is crucial to our experiencing art.
Owain Evans is a postdoc at the University of Oxford, working in Machine Learning with a focus on AI Safety. He also leads a collaboration on “Inferring Human Preferences” with Stanford University and Ought.org. His PhD is from MIT, where he worked on cognitive science, probabilistic programming, and philosophy of science.
“Misremembering and mistranslating: using GANs in an art context”
Research has looked at whether artificial intelligence, and more particularly machine learning, can create art. Producing an image using a GAN versus any other way gives the viewer a different experience, expectation, history, traces and contexts to consider. What are these associations and how might they be used in a piece of work? I look at how I have used this associations in my own work and projects, particularly focusing on training sets and GAN generated imagery.
Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher whose practice brings together technology, literature and drawing. She is interested in working with abstract collections of information or data, particularly self-generated data sets, to create new and unusual narratives in a variety of mediums, and how new technologies, such as machine learning, can be used to translate them clearly to an audience. She works heavily with technology at both the front and back end of projects (what is exhibited as well as the research that goes into the piece). Her intention is to make work that is not about technology for its own sake, but rather uses these technologies as a tool to talk about other things – memory, love, decay – or to augment or change the story in a way in that otherwise would not happen.
Particularly interested by Pix2Pix and plan to dabble with that over the next few weeks.
In this immersive installation, Nigerian artist Emeka Ogboh makes a connection between the volatility of financial markets and the movement of people seeking better lives. A traditional Greek lamentation song is complemented with real-time stock market indexes moving across an LED display. The Way Earthly Things Are Going was commissioned by the art exhibition documenta 14. It was installed in a raw concrete auditorium within the Athens Conservatoire, an iconic building but one which has become a symbol of failed utopian modernism.
Taking its title from a lyric in the Bob Marley song ‘So Much Trouble in the World’, this work references the current financial crisis – particularly significant to Greece, but also of global relevance – and the migration of people fleeing war and economic hardship. The ticker tape displays financial data, transmitted live from dozens of stock exchange indexes around the world. This is slowed down to match the pace of the singing, recorded specifically for this work with a traditional polyphonic choir. The lamentation song ‘When I forget, I’m glad’, from the Epirus region of northern Greece, recounts a story of forced migration and relates to the present economic situation in Greece.
The feeling of wandering the perimeter of this piece was mesmerising. Each speaker seems to contain and project a different voice of the choir, the sounds melding and changing as you move around the vast echoing space. The human voices contrast with the cold hard facts of the stock prices on display. Both the singing and the prices are in a language (for me) that I find hard to understand, although the sentiment of both seems abundantly clear. The installation uses the large concrete space perfectly and I could happily have wandered from voice to voice under the slowly-flickering ‘scoreboard’ for much longer than I had time for. An inspiring yet simple use of sound and (moving) image.