03 September 2011

Ballet mécanique

In which synesthesia and reflexive creative subjectivity get cyberized...

"What I’ve built to consider these questions is an interactive robotic painting machine that uses artificial intelligence to paint its own body of work and to make its own decisions. While doing so, it listens to its environment and considers what it hears as input into the painting process. In the absence of someone or something else making sound in its presence, the machine, like many artists, listens to itself. But when it does hear others, it changes what it does just as we subtly (or not so subtly) are influenced by what others tell us."

Not that this sort of thing is without precedence (for instance, A and B), but the audio-responsive element is an interesting twist -- especially considering that a majority of the time the thing is driven by the sounds of its own activity, thereby creating its own feedback loop. Alvin Lucier and Frank Stella and Humberto Maturana are sitting in a room...

This part I expect many can relate to:

"Lately I’ve taken to critiquing the machine as it paints, giving it audio input that is a direct response to what it just did. I’ll tell it what I think of each gesture it paints: if I liked it or didn’t, if I think it should have done something different, or how I see the latest mark fitting into the overall composition of the work. I’ve found that I tend to dislike these paintings more than others it makes, suggesting that listening to a constant critique of one’s creative process may not be productive."

All too human, in the end.

The quasi-Ab Ex look of the work is a bit surprising -- because what was more "postmodern" than the ironic, feigned gesture? But mostly it just comes down to a "gee-whiz" factor, because -- as such things go -- it falls well short of stacking up to the most culturally relevant art installation of the 'Noughties.

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