With the on-going technological revolution, the human-machine interaction is deeply evolving. Hence art creation could benefit of new tools while simultaneously supporting thoughts of how these interactions are affecting humans. It is the two perspectives considered by the present work. This artwork results of a collaboration between the duo of artist Tina&Charly and the mathematicians Thomas Kerdreux, Louis Thiry and Vivien Cabannes. Showcased is the series Influence, Convergence, Control, Monopole.
In their past work, the artist duo Tina&Charly have explored interaction using canvas as a media. To begin a creation, they choose a theme and symbolize it in dark on a white canvas. Then starts a game. At each round, using a basis of strokes and symbols that forms their pictorial vocabulary, Charly waits for Tina to schematize her emotions and thoughts in red, before answering her in green on the on-going painting. Rounds follow up until a consensus is reached about ending the painting. The whole process takes place in silence, the only dialog being on the canvas.
Meanwhile Vivien Cabannes, Thomas Kerdreux and Louis Thiry, PhD candidates in Machine Learning at the ENS in Paris, were looking to raise awareness and initiate thoughts about human and machine interplay. Therefore they propose to introduce an artificial intelligence as a third player in Tina&Charly’s dialog. The AI machine first captures a raw representation of the painting, then analyzes this signal to partially complete the on-going painting; completion that it projects back on the canvas. At this point, the artists are free to incorporate the machine’s suggestion in blue, a color that has not been assigned to any player. The whole machinery is made of a camera, a computer and a projector.
Arguably, this artwork shows that technology is a middle ground where machines are made human-friendly and human drift from their original routines and spaces. The system has been designed to superficially borrow as much as possible human-like painting behavior. It was important for us to design an interactive installation, in the sensoriel three dimensional space of the artists. Indeed, Tina&Charly felt interacting with a full-body system, they experienced the machine as sometimes constraining, hard to grasp, and sometimes magical, infusing new dimensions to the painting. Feeling, while in the creative process, that the machine could either be collaborative or muzzling, was an unexpected echo to what technologies seems to be in our daily life.
In the Influence, Convergence, Control, Monopole series, the algorithm was designed to add more and more blue from one canvas to the next. Interestingly, the artists seemingly reacted to compensate this characteristic of the algorithm. In particular, the first painting Influence seems to derive from a natural human aesthetic, while the last one Monopole echoes arcade game and computer aesthetic.