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Milo Poelman - Synthetic Renaissance: A Collaborative Tapestry of Past and Present.

These newly imagined works feature ambiguous landscapes that are created by the machine flowing from shapes that include mountains, seas, bodies, and cities, without any distinction between the subjects. The neural networks are trained on a collection of thousands of historical paintings, most of them dating back to the Renaissance. The networks do not possess any knowledge about the world on which the previous historical creators based their work. The generated works therefore show the essence of the database it was fed: it assumes the previous artistic translation as an objective truth and therefore not a subjective expression. The historical paintings are strongly influenced by the physical world and the maker's experiences in this world. The historical makers reflected the physical world through reasoning, semantics and symbolism, strongly influenced by the technology of the time. The neural networks do not possess the capability of semantics or reasoning; they see the body as a landscape, the sky as a surface and mountain ranges as patterns.

About the Artist

In my practice I try to explore ways in which I can fairly collaborate with the technologies I work with, maintaining mutual respect and adhere to each other's wishes, while sustaining a form of artistic direction. Main themes that I address are authorship, reproduction and simulation. While working closely together with digital technologies, I think it is important to give credit where credit is due. These technologies have a large impact on our lives, and we have a large impact on them as well. One could argue that we have become mutually dependent on each other. Thus, I believe that we have reached a stage where it is appropriate to acknowledge that digital technology is not simply a tool that we have created as a means to an end. We collaborate, interact and work so closely together that certain technologies have attained a degree of autonomy.
In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that some digital technologies could be considered autonomous forms of life, residing in non-physical digital spaces.

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