Info on collaborative projects by Everything Is Collective
available at everythingiscollective.comShallow Learning 2017
“Deep learning” is a branch of artificial intelligence that allows a computer to learn to identify and categorize data without human supervision, a kind of technology commonly used in image recognition, facial detection, computer vision, and natural language processing software, among many other things. This series is titled Shallow Learning in contrast or opposition to that term.
Two commonplace yet sophisticated digital tools that recognize or “see” photographs were central to this work. Each of the images in this series is a composite that started as a single image from a past project. These leftover images, which had never been published, exhibited, or posted on the internet, were used as search criteria in Google’s “search by image” feature. This function of the search engine is typically used to track down the provenance of an image found online, but because the images I was searching for did not exist online, the search engine instead offered a selection of visually similar images-- algorithmic guesses at what these pictures showed. I then selected one of these “best guesses” from Google, placed it next to the original image on a blank canvas in Photoshop, and filled in the area between the two images using the “content aware fill” function.
I was motivated to do this because I have observed that the digital tools I use in my practice as an artist are beginning to do more of their own thinking. And just as i wonder what I can learn about the world by looking at images, I now also wonder what images are learning about the world by looking at each other.
Action, Time, and Vision 2014Action, Time, and Vision (2014) may best be described as a practice in intentional dissonance. Made up of original photographs and collages made of appropriated images from a turn-of-the-century illustrated book on the theory of camouflage (Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, G.H. Thayer 1909), Action, Time, and Vision is an exploration of an existing body of knowledge, but also a distortion, a twisting out of tune, and a restructuring of that body. It is a book written between the lines of another: the work takes a theory about camouflage and turns the criteria back on itself. It hides within camouflage, not through it. And if its processes of production are the transformation of a common material into one of greater value, then this kind of alchemy is also its subject matter. But camouflage is a special kind of alchemy, because the common material is the visible world, and the one of greater value is what appears as nothing at all.
For this series I photographed an unauthorized skatepark built by local skaters in a deserted business plaza at the edge of town. The contrast between the intentions of the plaza’s initial design and how it was being used in its secondary appropriation was striking. The central figure in this series is a concrete embankment added by the skaters to a corner of the parking lot. I consider the material, formal, and conceptual qualities of this object and the gesture it represents emblematic of a sophisticated spatial practice at work: through a few minimal concrete additions and an all new vision of what could be done there, the skaters had transitioned a commercial ruin into a space of free expression, and autonomous zone. In my photographs I adopted the same mentality as the skaters, discarding the precepts of photographic representation the way the skaters had discarded the precepts of the plaza. In an attempt to learn from creative consumption, this project is an experiment that blurs the lines between documentation and participation, where each image is a reflection of one set of circumstances and the initiation of another