Artificial Intelligence artwork on auction for the first time
February 14, 2019: Giving credence to the rapidly emerging field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Art, Sotheby’s London will offer the first self-contained, generative work of Artificial Intelligence ever to appear on the market, as part of the Contemporary Art Day Auction in London on March 6.
Titled Memories of Passersby I, Mario Klingemann’s installation comprises a custom-made wooden console table which hosts an AI computer ‘brain’, and two framed screens upon which the machine’s output - disquieting portraits of imagined male and female faces - blur hypnotically into focus.
A remarkable technological feat, the flow of faces on the screen are not predefined, but instead are a result of the AI creating its own unique output in real-time. The machine generates a new and never-repeating combination of portraits for as long as it is running. Imagine – a new artwork in your space every five minutes.
The conjured faces, however, have been influenced by portraits from the 17th to 19th centuries, as well as Mr. Klingemann’s own penchant for Surrealist works. Describing the work, the artist explains: “Memories of Passersby I houses a very powerful machine which creates paintings while you look at them, which I think is quite magical. Neural networks are involved, and you could say that they are the brushes that I’ve learned to use. The machine is in a cycle where it continuously creates new faces that start changing and fading away - it observes itself and creates a feedback loop. Of course, it’s hard for me let it out into the world without me by its side, but I trust that it’s ready to keep creating new portraits forever, as I always hoped it would do. I hope that when people sit and watch these fleeting faces pass by, they will get the same feeling I do”.
The autonomous AI computer ‘brain’ consists of a system of neural networks, very similar to those of the human brain. The neural network is composed of a large number of highly interconnected processing elements, which cannot be programmed to perform a specific task, but instead learn by example.
The artwork is estimated at £30,000-40,000.