The process of seeing paintings, or seeing anything else, is less spontaneous and natural than we tend to believe. A large part of seeing depends upon habit and convention.
– from Ways of Seeing (1972) by John Berger
In 2018, the London-based digital media researcher Gabriel Pereira teamed up with the Brazilian artist Bruno Moreschi to investigate how algorithms would interpret contemporary art. For the project, the duo ran 654 works from the Van Abbemuseum in the Dutch city of Eindhoven through a homemade image-recognition program composed of six different commercially available AIs. In Recoding Art, Moreschi and Pereira guide us through the museum’s collection as viewed by AIs, revealing their mostly strange, often comedic readings that both simplify and expand upon the artworks’ meanings. To contrast AI and human perspectives, Moreschi and Pereira also asked Amazon Mechanical Turk workers – digital labourers who take on tasks that computers can’t yet do – to add their own reactions to the artworks, adding another rich layer to the project. The result is an entertaining and thought-provoking exploration of subjectivity, capitalism and machine learning that shows how AIs reflect the imperfect humans who train them.
Directors: Bruno Moreschi, Gabriel Pereira
Producer: Fernanda Pessoa
The ancient world
What wine vessels reveal about politics and luxury in ancient Athens and Persia
David Goldblatt captured the contradictions of apartheid in stark black and white
In the search for life, might alien ocean worlds be a better bet than Earth-like planets?
Love and friendship
When drawing your muse hundreds of times becomes an exercise in love
Thinkers and theories
Is simulation theory a way to shirk responsibility for the world we’ve created?
A dazzling slice-by-slice exploration of wood exposes hidden patterns and hues
In Rwanda, Sébastien finds traces of personal history in the wake of national tragedy
Dance and theatre
Leaf through Shakespeare’s First Folio for a riveting journey into theatre history
Modern architecture should embrace – not ignore or repel – the nonhuman world