The question of why we collect, record, and share our quotidian experiences has always been entangled with the formal and aesthetic concerns about how to represent reality, totality, and the depth of human imagination. Nineteenth century poet and critic Stéphane Mallarmé famously said that everything in the world existed to end up in a book. Revisiting Mallarmé’s proposition in her 1977 collection of essays, On Photography, Susan Sonntag wrote, “Today everything exists to end in a photograph.” More recently, Jonathan Zittrain, the co-founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and society, suggested that “internet architecture” lacked a definable center and instead relied on “an extraordinary collective hallucination.”

Refik Anadol’s most recent synesthetic reality experiments deeply engage with these centuries-old questions and attempt at revealing new connections between visual narrative, archival instinct and collective consciousness. The project focuses on latent cinematic experiences derived from representations of urban memories as they are re-imagined by machine intelligence. For Artechouse’s New York location, Anadol presents a data universe of New York City in 1025 latent dimensions that he creates by deploying machine learning algorithms on over 100 million photographic memories of New York City found publicly in social networks. Machine Hallucination thus generates a novel form of synesthetic storytelling through its multilayered manipulation of a vast visual archive beyond the conventional limits of the camera and the existing cinematographic techniques.

The resulting artwork is a 30-minute experimental cinema, presented in 16K resolution, that visualizes the story of New York through the city’s collective memories that constitute its deeply-hidden consciousness. The exhibition does not tell the story of today’s New York, but, instead, foresees what may come, through the machine intelligence’s bridging of the gap between the present and a vision of the near future. It is a hopeful vision about the evolving relationship between machine and man, and provides an alternative to the conventional narrative of an apocalyptic future. Machine Hallucination offers a unique context for us to explore an alternative reality. As both an entertaining and enthralling experience, the machine’s hallucination can expand our capacity to dream, and help us envision things that we otherwise could not see or imagine.

Locations
Artechouse NYC, New York, USA
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Dates
09/05/2019 – 02/05/2020

CREDITS
Team Members & Collaborators
Alex Morozov
Ali Emre Karacali
Carrie He
Christina Moushoul
Danny Lee
HyeJi Yang
Efe Mert Kaya
Efsun Erkılıç
Ho Man Leung
Julia Thompson
Kyle McLean
Maurizio Braggiotti
Nicholas Boss
Pelin Kıvrak
Raman K. Mustafa
Toby Heinemann

Sound Design
Kerim Karaoglu

Commissioned By
Artechouse NYC
Sandro Kereselidze
Tati Pastukhova

Public Relations
Laura B. Cohen / LC Media

Specs
18 Channel 4K Video
32 Channel Sound
Custom Software
13689 X 7418px resolution
30 minutes

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Latent Walk Samples
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Machine
Hallucination
Exhibition  —  Installation  —  A/V Performance
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