Exploring the limits between machine learning algorithms, media, and art, Selçuk Artut’s Variable questions the signification of terms and artist statements through an interactive experience. Presenting the linguistic and technical complexity of his multifaceted work in a minimalist and elegant form, Varible thoughtfully problematizes the limitations of algorithms and encourages us to reflect on poststructuralism’s ontological questions. A crucial aspect should be highlighted in Artut’s work. Transitioning from one moment to another, the temporality of varying terms and generated statements, based on Heidegger’s Being and Time (1927), find unity in their eight-letter monochrome limitations. Encouraging one to look for further ontological statements, terms in Variable occasionally assume further connotations and point to dilemmas via key terms such as “AUTONOMY”.
Text by Onur Engin
Variable is an interactive artwork that utilizes machine learning algorithms in its creative structure. Composed of eight screens animating a display of eight letter words, with the touch of a button Variable invites visitors to recompose the artwork’s title and its artistic statement. This interactive art piece was inspired by the complexity of Martin Heidegger’s philosophical book “Being and Time”. Being and Time was trained to a machine learning algorithm to generate paragraphs made of three sentences at any request. In this art project nine Raspberry Pi computers were interconnected to a local network and the communication was achieved with the use of OSC protocol. Main computer facilitates Markov Chain operations based on a Python Library and generates a new text when a button is triggered by the visitor. Display interfaces and the OSC communication were built in the Processing Environment.
At the front face of the installation, the structure is built on a facade of a stainless reflective steel with a size of 60 cm (height) to 170 cm (width). Stainless surface serves as a screen for reflecting objects in the circumference and solidifies a minimalist look while hiding all the technological complexities hidden at the behind.
Additionally, very thin fluorescent bulbs have been mounted in between the display screens as physical separators with bright white emitting lights. Next to the main structure of the piece, a 5-inch LCD display mounted in a box has been placed to display information about the art piece. When a visitor pushes a button, with the help of the Machine Learning Algorithm a completely new title and a statement is regenerated immediately. At the same time, the new title is broken into letters and on each of the display screens placed in front of the art piece, a flowing text animation begins. Generated texts are commonly dominated with ontological questions based on the “being” on a conceptual level, and the words of being are string replaced with generated artwork’s titles. As a result, the artistic statement is formed into an ontological text philosophizing on a conceptual artistic title based on Heidegger’s philosophical text with Machine taught algorithm interpretations.
Photo Credits : Murat Durusoy