Algorithmic Landscapes

Algorithmic Landscapes 2020
Interactive Installation, Video-mapping.
Matheus da Rocha Montanari

Work selected for the .Art Gallery in the ARS ELECTRONICA 2020 online exhibition. 

Art always accompanies the technologies and languages ​​of its time. Today, we see the rise of digital technologies, especially artificial intelligence, invading the most diverse fields. These types of systems have specific ways of operating, mainly on data-based forecasting.

The algorithmic landscape project investigates the dimensions of the city landscape, taking into account the algorithmic layer that constitutes it. The project unfolds in three stages.

The first part is a performance that culminates in an algorithmic walk in two different cities: Paris, France, and Caxias do Sul, Brazil. This action produces more than 10,000 images that are used as a data set for the work.

During the performance, I make an algorithmic drift guided by a song suggestion system. I walk on the streets listening to the songs that the platform suggests to me based on the profile it created upon my data. If the algorithm suggests a song that I liked, I turn in the next street right. If the algorithm suggests a song I don't like, I turn the next street left. In this way, I make an unusual route and mapping of the city, while I record everything in photos and the geo-located track of the GPS applications.

The second part consists of the analysis of these images by a machine learning software created specifically for this work. This software does a reverse image search on the data set and finds the most similar locations in the two different cities.

With these selections, we created a collection of images that approach two geographically distant places, from an algorithmic point of view.

Then, the images are printed with a specific technique on acrylic sheets. When the different acrylic sheets meet, they bring out the image of what exists between them, revealing the algorithmic landscape.

With this material, we created a video-mapping piece projected on a building in a third city: Belém, Brazil. The projection creates an intervention in the view of the city, where it builds a new layer of the landscape by this combination of projected images with the image of the city itself.

Besides, we have also developed an interactive installation in which walking plays a central role within it. The installation consists of a series of mobiles made from acrylic sheets, in which a projection occurs, controlled by a system of motion sensors in space that constantly changes the landscape of the installation.