Computer Vision Art Gallery

ICCV 2019, Seoul, Korea

SK Choi

The Trance Machine, (2019)


The Trance Machine explores the liminal border between awareness and context. Starting from the idea that every image is a composition of successively smaller images, an ever-changing manifold of frames within frames - the artist’s vision holds a tacit conversation with the poetic organization of light.

Drawing on Richard Kostelanetz’s Illuminations, a visual poetics where words are addresses in a matrix of distributed meaning, I appropriate code as the tacit language of the machine and fashion its arrangement into messages that are recoded back into the image, a human perturbation of algorithmic precision, poking with sticks at the cracks in theory, finding gems, finding decay, finding resonant light.

Using a neural network as black (paint) box, I feedback this resonance, playing with multiple inversions of the image, overlaying, inverting, convolving, creating rhythm through texture and offering it back to the Trance Machine. There is narrative encoded in pattern. Images are codes within codes.

I am fascinated by the idea of micro-narratives in the re-framing of a scene. A small corner of the visual field can become a vista. In this work I take scenes of night lighting and break them into grids, as if vision were a wall of windows in the picture plane holding smaller stories leading to spaces ‘outside.’ The scene becomes both fragmented and cohesive, one section leads to another but is very different from its origins. Is the image still or moving? Where is the boundary between life and death, light and dark? Experience is perpetual transition.

Due to the base nature of the computational neural network, trained on image recognition, suggestions of familiar imagery seem to appear and fade. Whether these pareidolia are actually present in the mind of the machine or the mind of the viewer places us in the liminal space between human and machine, drifting with chains through darkness and light.