[NetBehaviour] Computers Watching Movies (Exhibition Cut) by Benjamin Grosser

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue Feb 4 15:51:32 CET 2014

Computers Watching Movies (Exhibition Cut) by Benjamin Grosser

computationally-produced HD video with stereo audio

Computers Watching Movies shows what a computational system sees when it 
watches the same films that we do. The work illustrates this vision as a 
series of temporal sketches, where the sketching process is presented in 
synchronized time with the audio from the original clip. Viewers are 
provoked to ask how computer vision differs from their own human vision, 
and what that difference reveals about our culturally-developed ways of 
looking. Why do we watch what we watch when we watch it? Will a system 
without our sense of narrative or historical patterns of vision watch 
the same things?

Computers Watching Movies was computationally produced using software 
written by the artist. This software uses computer vision algorithms and 
artificial intelligence routines to give the system some degree of 
agency, allowing it to decide what it watches and what it does not. Six 
well-known clips from popular films are used in the work, enabling many 
viewers to draw upon their own visual memory of a scene when they watch 
it. The scenes are from the following movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey, 
American Beauty, Inception, Taxi Driver, The Matrix, and Annie Hall.

This version was first exhibited as a large-scale video installation 
during the University of Illinois 2013 MFA Thesis Exhibition, Krannert 
Art Museum, Champaign, IL, April 11-28, 2013.

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