In 2019, our studio was commissioned to collaborate with Nobel Laureate in Physics Konstantin Novoselov, who received the Prize in 2010 for his work on graphene. Besides science, Konstantin is keen on arts and creates artworks, inspired by Chinese watercolor and abstract art. One of his works was chosen for an exhibition about the future of AI in the State Hermitage Museum in St.Petersburg.
Our goal was to create a video that would accompany Novoselov’s artwork, becoming a single piece, which would draw parallels between the human mind and artificial intelligence.
Konstantin came up with the concept for the entire artwork—his idea was to show artificial intelligence as a cabinet with various shelves that store sorted information. While Konstantin created a watercolor painting, we produced a 3D artwork to become a part of the exhibition, uncovering Kostya’s idea in another medium.
Our video was based on this idea as well, but instead of the result of data processing, we showed the process of classifying. We see miscellaneous bits of data, which are then combined in blocks of different sizes, transparent enough to see what information they are based on.
This metaphor gave us an opportunity to visualize complex abstract concepts as tangible and understandable objects.
During the production process, we experimented with different materials but came to the conclusion that the best material to show the process of interpretation and the formation of patterns and algorithms would be glass.
Digitally growing glass bodies around chunks of data shown by various particles, we see how neural networks separate important objects from chaos and form memory units, interconnecting them to use in computations.
The artwork was exhibited in the State Hermitage Museum from June 7th to July 7th, 2019. The event was the first in Russia to feature art created by neural networks and other algorithms of machine learning, so it attracted widespread media coverage, with some of the journalists comparing the exhibition with the first show of impressionists in 1874 in Paris.
Maxim Zhestkov, Igor Sordokhonov