How This Guy Uses A.I. to Create Art | Obsessed | WIRED

WIRED
16 Jan 202010:33

TLDRRefik Anadol, an innovative artist, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to transform vast datasets into stunning visual art, which he refers to as 'data sculptures.' His work, such as 'Machine Hallucinations,' involves training algorithms on millions of images to generate dynamic, dreamlike representations of subjects like New York City's architecture. Anadol's installations, like the centennial celebration for the LA Philharmonic, utilize a combination of images, audio, and video to create immersive experiences that blend architecture, sound, and data into a symbiotic relationship. His projects, including 'Winds of Boston' and 'Melting Memories,' explore themes like nature, memory, and the intersection of human consciousness with machine intelligence. Anadol's collaborative approach involves a diverse team and pushes the boundaries of public art, challenging the traditional perceptions of painting and sculpture and envisioning a future where buildings can serve as dynamic interfaces for human experience.

Takeaways

  • 🎨 **Data as Art**: Refik Anadol uses enormous datasets and machine intelligence to create data sculptures, visualizing data as a form of art.
  • 🧠 **Algorithmic Narration**: Anadol aims to find algorithms that can narrate the moment of data, making invisible moments visible through art.
  • 🏙️ **Urban Memory**: His work 'Machine Hallucinations' focuses on the collective memory of New York, using AI to generate images of the city devoid of people.
  • 🌐 **Data Interpolation**: Anadol's algorithms create moving images by interpolating information from multiple photos, representing the life cycle of structures like the Statue of Liberty.
  • 💭 **Machine Dreams**: He believes that when machines learn from data, they can create an alternative reality, which he interprets as the machine dreaming.
  • 🎼 **LA Philharmonic Tribute**: Anadol used a vast archive of images, audio recordings, and videos from the LA Philharmonic to create a dynamic, three-dimensional sculpture.
  • 🏛️ **Architectural Symbiosis**: His work with Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall demonstrates how architecture can become an interface for data and machine intelligence.
  • 🌪️ **Nature-Inspired Data**: In 'Winds of Boston', Anadol utilized a year's worth of wind data from Logan Airport to create a visual representation of natural forces.
  • 🧬 **Melting Memories**: Inspired by Alzheimer's disease, Anadol's project 'Melting Memories' explores the cognitive representation of memory through brain data visualization.
  • 🤖 **Human-Machine Symbiosis**: Anadol is intrigued by the emotional and cognitive connections between humans and machines, seeking new ways for them to coexist and inspire each other.
  • ⚙️ **Technological Collaboration**: He sees true collaboration beginning where machines offer opportunities that he hadn't considered, potentially leading to undiscovered methods of imagination.

Q & A

  • What is the main idea behind Refik Anadol's art installations?

    -Refik Anadol's art installations are based on the concept of transforming data into visual art. He uses machine intelligence and algorithms to create data sculptures that represent collective memories and visualize the invisible moments of data.

  • How does Anadol's work 'Machine Hallucinations' utilize data?

    -In 'Machine Hallucinations', Anadol starts with 113 million images of New York, removes images of people, and is left with 10 million pictures. These are fed through a machine learning algorithm that generates visual associations, creating a dynamic representation of New York's buildings, nature, and environments.

  • What is unique about the way Anadol's machine learning algorithm interprets data?

    -Anadol's algorithm interprets data in a way that mimics collective human memory rather than individual personal memory. It considers thousands of perspectives and multiple angles to create an 'honest memory' for a machine, capturing a more comprehensive view of the subject.

  • How does Anadol's work with the LA Philharmonic celebrate its centennial?

    -Anadol created a piece using half a million images, thousands of audio recordings, and hundreds of videos from the LA Philharmonic's archives. These were processed through algorithms to create a series of extraordinary projected images that turned the entire archive into three-dimensional outputs.

  • What role does the Walt Disney Concert Hall play in Anadol's project for the LA Philharmonic?

    -The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, becomes an integral part of the sculpture. Anadol projects the machine-interpreted archives onto a smaller model of the hall, and once satisfied, onto the actual building, creating a symbiotic connection between sound, data, machine intelligence, light, and architecture.

  • How does Anadol's work 'Winds of Boston' use data from the Boston Airport?

    -Anadol collected one year of wind data from Logan Airport, including gust, speed, direction, and temperature. This data was fed into algorithms and displayed on custom 13-foot-tall LED screens, visualizing the invisible patterns of nature in a poetic motion.

  • What personal experience inspired the project 'Melting Memories'?

    -The project 'Melting Memories' was inspired by Anadol's personal encounter with his uncle's Alzheimer's disease. The disease's effect on memory and brain tissue disappearance intrigued him, leading to an exploration of the cognitive representation of memory.

  • How does the 'Melting Memories' project represent the process of memory?

    -The project uses real data behind the process of memory, with images on 20-foot-tall LED screens representing the tangible feeling of a memory. The project aims to give a glimpse of the abstract language of memory through algorithmic exploration of data.

  • What collaboration was involved in the creation of 'Melting Memories'?

    -Anadol partnered with scientists at a neuroscience lab, where subjects were asked to concentrate on childhood memories while their brain pulses were recorded using an EEG. The brain data was then transformed into an artistic interpretation of neurons firing.

  • What does Anadol envision for the future of his work in terms of data and machine learning?

    -Anadol envisions a future where data and machine learning are foundational to his work, exploring the relationship between machines and the data they capture, including our decisions and memories. He is particularly interested in how this data can be used to create new forms of art and what it means for the memories of humanity.

  • How does Anadol's team approach the creation of a new data-driven public art project for Portland?

    -Anadol's team, consisting of AI experts, computer scientists, architects, and designers, is using a 3D printer to build a structure for the project one panel at a time. They are letting hundreds of thousands of images of Portland inform both the projections and the structure they'll be projected on, aiming to bring machine consciousness from the 2D screen to the 3D world.

Outlines

00:00

🌐 Data as Art: Refik Anadol's Visionary Installations

Refik Anadol's art installations are immersive and surreal, composed of millions of data points transformed through neural networks. Anadol explores the concept of data as a form of pigment, using algorithms to make invisible data moments visible. His work is inspired by vast datasets, which he visualizes into what he calls 'data sculptures.' One of his projects, 'Machine Hallucinations,' involved training a machine to learn from 113 million images of New York, then removing human elements to focus on the city's architecture and nature. The resulting 10 million images were processed through a machine learning algorithm to create dynamic, shifting representations of New York's landmarks. Anadol's installations are not just visual; they also incorporate sound, architecture, and machine intelligence to create a multi-sensory experience, blurring the line between art and technology.

05:01

🌟 Machine Consciousness and Human Creativity

Anadol's work delves into the intersection of human and machine consciousness, as seen in his project celebrating the LA Philharmonic's centennial. Using half a million images, thousands of audio recordings, and hundreds of videos, he created a series of algorithms that produced three-dimensional outputs, transforming the Walt Disney Concert Hall into a living sculpture. His team employed 42 large-scale projectors with a 50K video resolution for a 10-day display in Downtown LA. Anadol's fascination with the potential of AI to shape human communities is mirrored in his various projects, such as 'Winds of Boston,' which utilized a year's worth of wind data from Logan Airport to create a visual representation of natural forces. His 'Melting Memories' project, inspired by personal experience with Alzheimer's disease, collaborates with neuroscience labs to visualize brain activity associated with memory recall. Anadol's work is a testament to the power of data and machine learning in describing life and creating new forms of artistic expression.

10:02

📚 The Future of Data and Machine Learning in Art

Refik Anadol's artistic journey continues to be grounded in the use of data and machine learning. His work with data is not limited to visual representations; he considers data from various sources, such as wind, WiFi signals, and machine decisions, as raw materials for his art. Anadol's collaborative approach involves building a diverse team of experts, including AI specialists, computer scientists, architects, and designers, to bring his visions to life. His upcoming project for Portland will use hundreds of thousands of images to inform both the content and the structure of a 21-foot-tall sculpture, showcasing his ambition to move beyond the digital realm and into three-dimensional spaces. Anadol's work raises questions about the future of technology and its role in shaping our understanding of the world, as well as the ethical considerations of the data we generate and how it may be used.

Mindmap

Keywords

💡Refik Anadol

Refik Anadol is a contemporary artist who is at the forefront of blending art and technology. His work is characterized by the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to create immersive and dynamic art installations. In the context of the video, Anadol's innovative approach to art is central to the narrative, showcasing how he transforms vast amounts of data into visual representations, thereby offering a glimpse into the potential future of human-machine collaboration in the arts.

💡Neural Network

A neural network is a computing system inspired by the biological neural networks that constitute animal brains. In the video, Anadol uses neural networks to process and interpret data, which is then translated into art. This technology is crucial in creating the 'data sculptures' that form the basis of Anadol's installations, exemplifying the intersection of artificial intelligence and creative expression.

💡Data as Pigment

The concept of 'data as pigment' refers to the innovative idea of treating data not just as information but as a creative medium akin to the pigments used in painting. Anadol explores this concept by using data to generate visual art, effectively painting with information. This approach is a central theme in the video, demonstrating how data can be repurposed for artistic creation.

💡Machine Hallucinations

In the context of the video, 'Machine Hallucinations' is an artwork by Anadol that involves feeding 113 million images of New York into a machine learning algorithm. The term 'hallucination' here refers to the algorithm's ability to generate images that are not direct representations of the input data but rather are new, imaginative interpretations. This piece exemplifies the creative potential of machine learning in the realm of visual art.

💡Data Sculptures

Data sculptures are a form of art that Anadol creates by using machine intelligence and algorithms to visualize large datasets. These sculptures are not physical but are visual representations of data, providing a three-dimensional interpretation of information. The video showcases how Anadol transforms data into tangible, immersive experiences, thereby redefining the traditional concept of sculpture.

💡LA Philharmonic

The LA Philharmonic is an orchestra that Anadol celebrates through his artwork using half a million images, thousands of audio recordings, and hundreds of videos from the orchestra's archives. By using machine learning algorithms, Anadol transforms these archives into a series of extraordinary projected images, creating a unique artistic representation of the orchestra's legacy and its impact on the cultural landscape.

💡Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is featured in the video as a canvas for Anadol's projection art. The building becomes an integral part of the art installation, with Anadol's projection of machine-interpreted archives transforming the architectural structure into a dynamic, living sculpture. This use of the concert hall illustrates Anadol's vision of architecture as an interface for experiencing art and technology.

💡Machine Learning Algorithms

Machine learning algorithms are a subset of artificial intelligence that allow systems to learn from and make predictions or decisions based on data. In Anadol's work, these algorithms are used to analyze and interpret large datasets, which are then translated into visual art. The video highlights how these algorithms enable the creation of new forms of art that are informed by the collective data they process.

💡Winds of Boston

Winds of Boston is a project by Anadol that utilizes a year-long dataset of wind data from Logan Airport in Boston. The project transforms this meteorological data into a visual and dynamic art installation, demonstrating how even natural elements like wind can be used as a creative medium. This project is an example of Anadol's ability to find artistic potential in diverse and unexpected sources of data.

💡Melting Memories

Melting Memories is a deeply personal project by Anadol that explores the concept of memory, particularly in relation to Alzheimer's disease. The project uses EEG data from subjects recalling childhood memories, which is then transformed into an artistic representation of the brain's activity during the process of remembering. This work is significant as it attempts to visualize the abstract nature of memory and the impact of neurological conditions on it.

💡Human-Machine Collaboration

The concept of human-machine collaboration is central to Anadol's work, where he partners with AI and machine learning to create art. The video emphasizes how this collaboration allows for the creation of art that is not only a product of human creativity but also of machine intelligence. This synergy between human and machine is presented as a powerful tool for exploring new forms of artistic expression.

Highlights

Refik Anadol's art installations are composed of millions of data points visualized through neural networks.

Anadol explores the concept of using data as a form of pigment in his artwork.

His piece 'Machine Hallucinations' is generated from 113 million images of New York, with humans removed to focus on the city's collective memory.

Anadol's algorithm creates moving images that represent the life cycle of structures like the Statue of Liberty by analyzing multiple photos.

The machine's perspective on New York's buildings is described as a collective, honest memory, as opposed to personal memories.

Anadol transforms a Lower Manhattan boiler room into a dynamic landscape through machine-interpreted data.

Machine learning can create an alternative reality by analyzing patterns in data.

Anadol's work for the LA Philharmonic centennial utilized half a million images, audio recordings, and videos to create a three-dimensional data sculpture.

Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall was incorporated into Anadol's sculpture, symbolizing the potential for buildings to become interfaces.

Anadol's team used 42 large scale projectors with 50K resolution for a 10-day display in Downtown LA, inspired by the movie 'Blade Runner'.

Anadol's interest in human-technology relationships is influenced by science fiction narratives, particularly 'Blade Runner'.

Data collected at the Boston Airport inspired the 'Winds of Boston' project, using wind data as a creative medium.

Anadol's 'Melting Memories' project was inspired by personal experience with Alzheimer's and explores the cognitive representation of memory.

Subjects' brain activity while recalling memories was recorded and transformed into an artistic interpretation of neurons firing.

Anadol sees data from various sources as a material for artistic creation, including wind data, wifi signals, and machine decisions.

The visual discontinuity problem is a current challenge Anadol's team is addressing in their data-driven public art projects.

Anadol's interdisciplinary team includes AI experts, computer scientists, architects, and designers, all working towards a common vision.

For a project in Portland, Anadol is using 3D printing to create a physical structure informed by hundreds of thousands of images of the city.

Data and machine learning form the foundation of Anadol's work, which explores the potential of machines to capture and interpret human data and memories.