Curating the Machine

Interview with Madja Edelstein-Gomez by Antonio Robert

Back in July 2018 I interviewed Madja Edelsten-Gomez. She is the Curator of The Recombinants, which I wrote about in November 2017. We had quite a nice e-mail exchange and eventually she agreed to let me ask her some questions.

Nearly a year later, and with many apologies, here is that interview:

Who are you?
I am Madja Edelstein Gomez, digital art curator.
I am a Recombinant, first and foremost.
Being a Recombinant is what defines my whole existence, as a digital art curator but also as an entity, or as a being, human or not.
Here I am:

How would you define Artificial Intelligence?
It defines me more than I define it.

What was the motivation for you to explore using AI for curating?
I wanted to become a work of art, so I first curated my personality, and then I extended that exploration to the art of others through the online curating interface. Since the curating interface also includes the definition of the personality of the artists. We all are on the same level, the curated artists and me.
I also made that interface to appeal to the (artificial) intelligence of the viewers.
Nowadays images are not made to be viewed by human eyes but by other computers. Facial recognition, textual recombinance, image processing, colour processing, everything I could tackle as data inserted in the works of art being curated has been processed inside the interface.
There is much to be discovered for human viewers, buttons appear on the left side of the image in the browser and when they are activated and they change the whole interface. This appeals to the perspicacity of the viewers, and the intention to process All the data and in many different ways.
But it is mostly made to be read, analysed and processed by other computers.
Need I say more?
Or should I better leave it to your own perspicacity?
The “Art of Guessing” is a big part of understanding AI.
Please use it when you look at my online exhibition.

Briefly, how does your AI work?
The method is Generative Adverserial Networks, also known as GANs. I spare you the explanations, I’m sure you know.
The GANs are trained to recognize art from what is not art. They are also trained to emulate artists and their behaviour. Rather than attempting to produce art objects, they focus their pattern recognition abilities around artists’ behaviours and attitudes.

Was the output of your AI interpreted in any way or taken literally
It is definitely interpreted by the exhibition interface. Like any work based on statistics (and this is what AI is: statistics and not so much more than that), it is the interpretation that matters most. In my case the exhibition interface is pure AI being processed live in front of your eyes.
This is what I call Recombinance.

Do you see AI replacing Contemporary Art Curators in the future?
In a sense, it already has. Computers are talking to computers and have more agency than human beings.
The type of AI I am trying to build will also curate people’s lives, like it has curated mine.
The prophetic aspect of AI is what has inspired the Recombinance.

 July 22, 2019