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  • Hi, I'm Refik. I'm a media artist.

  • I use data as a pigment

  • and paint with a thinking brush

  • that is assisted by artificial intelligence.

  • Using architectural spaces as canvases,

  • I collaborate with machines

  • to make buildings dream and hallucinate.

  • You may be wondering, what does all this mean?

  • So let me please take you into my work and my world.

  • I witnessed the power of imagination when I was eight years old,

  • as a child growing up in Istanbul.

  • One day, my mom brought home a videocassette

  • of the science-fiction movie "Blade Runner."

  • I clearly remember being mesmerized

  • by the stunning architectural vision of the future of Los Angeles,

  • a place that I had never seen before.

  • That vision became a kind of a staple of my daydreams.

  • When I arrived in LA in 2012

  • for a graduate program in Design Media Arts,

  • I rented a car and drove downtown

  • to see that wonderful world of the near future.

  • I remember a specific line

  • that kept playing over and over in my head:

  • the scene when the android Rachael

  • realizes that her memories are actually not hers,

  • and when Deckard tells her they are someone else's memories.

  • Since that moment,

  • one of my inspirations has been this question.

  • What can a machine do with someone else's memories?

  • Or, to say that in another way,

  • what does it mean to be an AI in the 21st century?

  • Any android or AI machine

  • is only intelligent as long as we collaborate with it.

  • It can construct things

  • that human intelligence intends to produce

  • but does not have the capacity to do so.

  • Think about your activities and social networks, for example.

  • They get smarter the more you interact with them.

  • If machines can learn or process memories,

  • can they also dream?

  • Hallucinate?

  • Involuntarily remember,

  • or make connections between multiple people's dreams?

  • Does being an AI in the 21st century simply mean not forgetting anything?

  • And, if so,

  • isn't it the most revolutionary thing that we have experienced

  • in our centuries-long effort to capture history across media?

  • In other words,

  • how far have we come since Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner"?

  • So I established my studio in 2014

  • and invited architects,

  • computer and data scientists, neuroscientists,

  • musicians and even storytellers

  • to join me in realizing my dreams.

  • Can data become a pigment?

  • This was the very first question we asked

  • when starting our journey to embed media arts into architecture,

  • to collide virtual and physical worlds.

  • So we began to imagine what I would call the poetics of data.

  • One of our first projects, "Virtual Depictions,"

  • was a public data sculpture piece

  • commissioned by the city of San Francisco.

  • The work invites the audience

  • to be part of a spectacular aesthetic experience

  • in a living urban space

  • by depicting a [unclear] network of connections of the city itself.

  • It also stands as a reminder

  • of how invisible data from our everyday lives,

  • like the Twitter feeds that are represented here,

  • can be made visible

  • and transformed into sensory knowledge that can be experienced collectively.

  • In fact, data can only become knowledge when it's experienced,

  • and what is knowledge and experience can take many forms.

  • When exploring such connections

  • through the vast potential of machine intelligence,

  • we also pondered the connection between human senses

  • and the machines' capacity for simulating nature.

  • These inquiries began while working on wind-data paintings.

  • They took the shape of visualized plans

  • based on hidden data sets that we collected from wind sensors.

  • We then used generative algorithms

  • to transform wind speed, gust and direction

  • into an ethereal data pigment.

  • The result was a meditative yet speculative experience.

  • This kinetic data sculpture, titled "Bosphorus,"

  • was a similar attempt to question our capacity to reimagine

  • natural occurrences.

  • Using high-frequency radar collections of the Marmara Sea,

  • we collected sea-surface data

  • and projected its dynamic movement with machine intelligence.

  • We create a sense of immersion

  • in a calm yet constantly changing synthetic sea view.

  • Seeing with the brain is often called imagination,

  • and, for me, imagining architecture

  • goes beyond just glass, metal or concrete,

  • instead experimenting with the furthermost possibilities of immersion

  • and ways of augmenting our perception in built environments.

  • Research in artificial intelligence is growing every day,

  • leaving us with the feeling of being plugged into a system

  • that is bigger and more knowledgeable

  • than ourselves.

  • In 2017, we discovered an open-source library

  • of cultural documents in Istanbul

  • and began working on "Archive Dreaming,"

  • one of the first AI-driven public installations in the world,

  • an AI exploring approximately 1.7 million documents that span 270 years.

  • One of our inspirations during this process

  • was a short story called "The Library of Babel"

  • by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges.

  • In the story, the author conceives a universe in the form of a vast library

  • containing all possible 410-page books of a certain format and character set.

  • Through this inspiring image,

  • we imagine a way to physically explore the vast archives of knowledge

  • in the age of machine intelligence.

  • The resulting work, as you can see,

  • was a user-driven immersive space.

  • "Archive Dreaming" profoundly transformed the experience of a library

  • in the age of machine intelligence.

  • "Machine Hallucination" is an exploration of time and space

  • experienced through New York City's public photographic archives.

  • For this one-of-a-kind immersive project,

  • we deployed machine-learning algorithms

  • to find and process over 100 million photographs of the city.

  • We designed an innovative narrative system

  • to use artificial intelligence to predict or to hallucinate new images,

  • allowing the viewer to step into a dreamlike fusion

  • of past and future New York.

  • As our projects delve deeper

  • into remembering and transmitting knowledge,

  • we thought more about how memories were not static recollections

  • but ever-changing interpretations of past events.

  • We pondered how machines

  • could simulate unconscious and subconscious events,

  • such as dreaming, remembering and hallucinating.

  • Thus, we created "Melting Memories"

  • to visualize the moment of remembering.

  • The inspiration came from a tragic event,

  • when I found out that my uncle was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

  • At that time, all I could think about

  • was to find a way to celebrate how and what we remember

  • when we are still able to do so.

  • I began to think of memories not as disappearing

  • but as melting or changing shape.

  • With the help of machine intelligence,

  • we worked with the scientists at the Neuroscape Laboratory

  • at the University of California,

  • who showed us how to understand brain signals as memories are made.

  • Although my own uncle was losing the ability to process memories,

  • the artwork generated by EEG data

  • explored the materiality of remembering

  • and stood as a tribute to what my uncle had lost.

  • Almost nothing about contemporary LA

  • matched my childhood expectation of the city,

  • with the exception of one amazing building:

  • the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry,

  • one of my all-time heroes.

  • In 2018, I had a call from the LA Philharmonic

  • who was looking for an installation

  • to help mark the celebrated symphony's hundred-year anniversary.

  • For this, we decided to ask the question,

  • "Can a building learn? Can it dream?"

  • To answer this question,

  • we decided to collect everything recorded in the archives of the LA Phil and WDCH.

  • To be precise, 77 terabytes of digitally archived memories.

  • By using machine intelligence,

  • the entire archive, going back 100 years,

  • became projections on the building's skin,

  • 42 projectors to achieve this futuristic public experience

  • in the heart of Los Angeles,

  • getting one step closer to the LA of "Blade Runner."

  • If ever a building could dream,

  • it was in this moment.

  • Now, I am inviting you to one last journey into the mind of a machine.

  • Right now, we are fully immersed in the data universe

  • of every single curated TED Talk from the past 30 years.

  • That means this data set includes 7,705 talks from the TED stage.

  • Those talks have been translated into 7.4 million seconds,

  • and each second is represented here in this data universe.

  • Every image that you are seeing in here

  • represents unique moments from those talks.

  • By using machine intelligence,

  • we processed a total of 487,000 sentences

  • into 330 unique clusters of topics like nature, global emissions,

  • extinction, race issues, computation,

  • trust, emotions, water and refugees.

  • These clusters are then connected to each other

  • by an algorithm,

  • and 113 million line segments [are generated],

  • which reveal new conceptual relationships.

  • Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to remember

  • all the questions that have ever been asked on the stage?

  • Here I am,

  • inside the mind of countless great thinkers,

  • as well as a machine, interacting with various feelings

  • attributed to learning,

  • remembering, questioning

  • and imagining all at the same time,

  • expanding the power of the mind.

  • For me, being right here

  • is indeed what it means to be an AI in the 21st century.

  • It is in our hands, humans,

  • to train this mind to learn and remember

  • what we can only dream of.

  • Thank you.

Hi, I'm Refik. I'm a media artist.

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B1 INT US data intelligence machine ai remembering la

Art in the age of machine intelligence | Refik Anadol

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    MILU1111   posted on 2020/08/21
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