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Landscape Forms (The Shape of 26,000 Trees)



Directed by Peter Nelson. Animation by Peter Nelson and Marina Victoria Pascual. Original Music by Roberto Alonso Trillo.

This animation uses 3D models of trees produced using a voxel-based Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). Using a poetic audio-visual animation, it cycles through the training epochs of the GAN to animate the process of the system learning to produce the three-dimensional form of trees. This artwork explores how the GANs learning three-dimensional forms can be considered within broader art historical questions of figuration and abstraction. 

Expressed using a variety of animation techniques, including particle morphing, vertex shape keys and latent space walks, this work explores forms produced by the GAN that appear reminiscent of modernist sculptors such as Henry Moore or Constantin Brâncuși. It structures these forms within compositions inspired by Romantic landscapes by Phillip Otto Runge, Theodore Rousseau and Caspar David Friedrich and literati compositions by Ni Zan [倪瓚] and Ma Lin [馬麟]. By situating this exploration of machine learning as a pathway to form and figuration within traditions concerned with the poetic function of landscape, this animation seeks to contribute to a broader consideration of how new technologies inform classical formal questions in visual culture. This work includes a musical accompaniment by Roberto Alonso Trillo, that uses a GAN system to generate a reworking of Romantic music.

[Conference Exhibition]  Art Machines, Singing Waves Gallery, School of Creative Media, Hong Kong.  May 2021

[Group Exhibition] And The Ship Sails On, JCCAC, Hong Kong, June 2021.

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