Unsupervised is the exhibition by artist Refik Arnold in which he uses artificial intelligence to transform the more than 200-year-old museum archives at MoMA into art.
Until March 5th, Refik Anadol's exhibition "Unsupervised" can be visited at MoMA. An exhibition in which artificial intelligence is used to interpret and transform more than 200 years of the museum's own art. Anadol already has a history of groundbreaking multimedia works and public installations, and this time he has created digital artworks from the museum's historical archive that unfold in real time, continuously generating new and supernatural forms that envelop the viewer in a large-scale multimedia wall measuring approximately 6 × 7 metres in the Gund Lobby.
How to create an abstract image. How to represent volume and depth in new ways. How to invent new colours. And even the question "Why?"
Artist Refif Arnold explains to the museum "For this work we used the world's most advanced generative AI algorithms and created a dynamic, living artwork, i.e. one that never repeats itself. At times, it also shows another layer of diagrams of its own decision-making paths and correlations. It is based on research and ethical data analysis and has the potential to generate new discourses on how our powers of perception are changing now that machines are inseparable witnesses to our activities and environments. In fact, we are currently designing a research protocol on the immediate effect of Unsupervised on the viewer by collaborating with neuroscientist Dr Adam Gazzaley to measure brain signals, heartbeat, body temperature and skin conductivity at the moment of experiencing the work."
The questions Anadol's team asked themselves before and during the process of creating Unsupervised were: Could we apply AI algorithms to a library open to everyone? And what would happen if we witnessed a machine learning against a human, where information becomes knowledge and wisdom? And what would happen if we allowed or helped the machine to create a new relationship between the human and the archive? And those that the viewers were subsequently asked to make themselves: How to create an abstract image. How to represent volume and depth in new ways. How to invent new colours. And even the question "Why?", because these are the problems that artists have faced over the last two centuries.
"We realise that the machine's process is not so different from ours in thinking or imagining. It's very Newtonian thinking: If you know how it started, can you predict where it might go?"
Artificial Intelligence is often used to classify, process and generate realistic representations of the world. Unsupervised, however, is visionary: it explores fantasy, hallucination, and irrationality, creating an alternative understanding of the artistic creation. Similar to the workings of the human being itself, "We are using the past - what has been re-collected - and, through a machine, speculating on the present and for the near future. We realise that the machine's process is not so different from ours in thinking or imagining. It's very Newtonian thinking: If you know how it started, can you predict where it might go?". By reviving and reshaping the archives of collective memory, Anadol hopes to raise new futures.