Taking another look at the Tate Data, the most interesting categories, for me, are the more subjective ones, the categories which feel like they’re furthest along the ‘I need a human to make this judgement’ axis. This dataset goes beyond simple ‘fact based’ descriptions, which means it contains a whole lot more humanity than most ‘big data’.
We can imagine machines which spot the items within a representational work (look at Google Goggles, for example) but algorithms which spot the ’emotions and human qualities’ of an artwork are more difficult to comprehend. These categories capture complex, uniquely human judgements which occupy a space which we hold outside of simple visual perception. In fact I think I’d find a machine which could accurately classify an artwork in this way a little sinister…
The relationships between these categories and the works are metaphorical in nature, allusions to whole classes of human experience that cannot be derived from simply ‘looking at’ the artwork. The exciting part of the Tate data is really the ‘humanity’ it contains, something absolutely essential when we’re talking about art – after all, culture cannot exist without culturally informed entities experiencing it.
It struck me that these are not only representations of existing artworks, but actually the vocabulary and structure required to describe new, as yet un-made, artworks.
So, inspired by an online conversation with BjÃ¸rn MagnhildÃ¸en, I built a machine which explores this idea space, and suggests new artworks. It can be used as a source of inspiration for artists or just a tool to investigate into an unknown aesthetic domain. By using a small subsection of the Tate categories as starting point, new descriptions are created. There are 88,577,208,667,721,179,117,706,090,119,168 possible artworks in waiting to be described.
Click Here to explore this world of machine imagined art.
It makes me wonder whether the whole process, from generating an idea through to the actual production of the artwork could perhaps be automated. Maybe a hook into the Thingiverse API and a 3d printer? In the meantime, please enjoy exploring an area of idea space, created purely by a machine.
MIA is now on twitter: Follow @miartbot