[NetBehaviour] Quick thought about Neural Networks

Rob Myers rob at robmyers.org
Sun Mar 25 23:09:48 CEST 2018

On Sun, 25 Mar 2018, at 8:22 AM, ruth catlow wrote:
> Here's a link to the exhibition page about BOB [1]

tfw no GitHub link on show page.

> and on the theme of beautiful introductions to technical things - this
> by Taeyoon Choi for Avant is the best introduction to Zero and One[2]
> ive read: technical, poetic, political.
I misread this as "Zeroes and Ones" and had a Sadie Plant flashback.

>> One of the difficulties in parsing BOB as an artwork arises from the
>> fact that (like a lot of products of digital culture) it is a black-
>> box, or perhaps a better analogy would be an iceberg. We know that
>> there is a huge and complex machine under the surface but we have no
>> idea, and no way to gain understanding of what is going on. It's body
>> is unlike ours, so it doesn't feel like we do. We can't learn
>> together with it. All we can do is project our own idea of what an
>> evolving system looks like onto its surface. And I think BOB is doing
>> very clever pattern mirroring.>> 
>>  So for me - with a creative Neural Net artwork I want to know about
>>  the "body" of the artwork and to be able to observe the glorious gap
>>  between what I might project onto it and what is actually going on.
I do wonder whether being satisfied with the (effects of the) output in
itself is a test for the sufficiency-as-art of art that is produced
using computer programs.
But then again if there's a painting I don't quite get, examining
the preparatory sketches or learning about the artist's
iconography can help.
A piece of art that uses complex computer programs as part of its
internal structure is at least as much a challenge to understanding as a
piece of art that incorporates a complex and unfamiliar formal or
iconographic surface structure.
So we're back to where the source code is. :-)

>> [...]
>>  On 25/03/18 05:20, BishopZ via NetBehaviour wrote:
>>> Been building some Neural Networks.

Hey awesome!

>>> [...]
>>> You can also make a Creative NN,
>>> which taks a small amount of data
>>> and makes up a whole bunch.
>>> [...]

This is starting to be used in design -

>>> Dear Netbehaviour,
>>> Any ideas, thoughts, comments? Is there room for creative NN
>>> artworks? Seems like this kind of thing could take over the
>>> interactive installation space. Maybe art-tech can become surprising
>>> again?
Both style transfer and generalising from examples could have major
applications in art, far beyond making any given cat photo look like Van
Gogh painted it.
Shardcore has done some awesome but usually more static stuff:


I've always been interested in creative recombination. I used morphing
software for this ages ago -

>>> Skynet's the limit.

In a very real way...

Although that's not the *entire* Accelerationist argument. ;-)

- Rob.


  1. http://www.serpentinegalleries.org/exhibitions-events/ian-cheng-bob
  2. http://avant.org/project/zero-one/
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