Computer Vision Art Gallery

CVPR 2021: Virtual due to COVID-19

Jeroen van der Most

The Shard Transformation, (2021)

Project Website

What if AI could enable humans and nature to jointly repair human destruction? Technology is often seen as driving humans and nature apart. In this art project AI let’s them create together instead…

We’re living in a time of climate collapse and confrontation with nature. In the eyes of the artist, we need to rethink technology. No longer use it as a destructive human tool, but as a medium to breed empathy and understanding between humans and the natural world. To eventually let humans and nature design a better world together.

The Shard Transformation is an experiment with regenerative human-natural co-creation. It was worked on over the course of a year, in the following steps:

  1. First the artist broke a large number of mirrors. Location was the Amsterdam forest.
  2. He then took pictures of the individual shards. Which were numbered, digitalized, and prepared for further processing.
  3. Pictures were also taken by the artist of thousands of forest flowers. Surrounding the mirrors. A methodology was developed to do this, in which high resolution pictures were taken of the forest floor. Algorithms were created to extract the flowers from the larger pictures.
  4. Then an AI (GAN) system was trained on the flower images. After analysing thousands of flower shapes, the AI system can create new flower-like forms.
  5. The system was then combined with custom algorithms to calculate combinations and positions of the digitalized shards, that together resemble the flower-shapes in chaotic patterns.
  6. Printable documents are then generated by the system. With instructions that show the artist step-by-step how to rebuild the mirrors into the flower-shapes.
  7. Three final physical shard-artworks were created by the artist based on the instructions. The shards were mounted on wooden plates (50 x 50 cm each) in black frames. A paint to which traces of forest soil were added, was used to give the wooden plates a dark colour.
  8. A movie was created of the process.
  9. The movie and artworks are publicized. Talks are given about the project, inspiring thought on technology, the role of the human, and destructive tendencies.
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