Two of the MIT researchers behind the provocative Deep Angel project, an algorithm that digitally erases objects from photos, have now delivered a strange and beautiful system to “conjure phantasms into being.”
According to the project developers Matt Groh and Ziv Epstein, the phantasmagoric AI Spirits manifested by their code are meant to “commemorate those missing via algorithmic omission.”
“In AI and robotics, we talk a lot about “the uncanny valley,” where stuff is human-like enough to make it seem plausible, but small deviations from our expectation of humans lead to a very creepy result,” Epstein writes in an email to me. “AI Spirits in particular explores this uncanny valley by actually leaning into and appreciating the erroneous, distorted and bizarre output of these deep neural nets…”
Where Deep Angel is tasked with removing people from images, Groh and Epstein fed all of that image data into AI Spirits so it could learn how to insert rough, but believable, approximations of people. Spirits, you might say.
“This model maps scenes with missing people to scenes with people. So, it is not exactly detecting humans and altering them to glitched out spirits. Instead, it’s a process of disappearing humans and then reimagining humans from what it knows about people in images,” writes Groh in an email.
[Note: disturbing photos below] Lisa Kereszi “has an eye for the kind of detail that makes you feel like slitting your throat,” Sarah Boxer writes in her New York Times review of an exhibition that included Kereszi’s photos of Governors Island, in New York Harbor. A courtesy phone the color of freshly dried blood; a […]
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Salim Fadhley writes, “Portals of London, an urban exploration blog, presents an alternative geography of London. It’s a catalog of the weird, decrepit and slightly crumpled – things the author posits might plausibly be portals to alternative universes, but then again might not.”
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