Portfolio > Rehearsing apologies to machines we taught to learn

Rehearsing Apologies
Detail of video projection

Chalet Comellas
Rehearsing apologies to machines we taught to learn
New media installation, designed in collaboration with Clint Sleeper
dimensions variable

Using MAX MSP, an interactive software program, a random image generator was specially designed for this piece by my collaborator Clint Sleeper, an artist and creative coder.
Rehearsing apologies to machines we taught to learn, utilizes this image generator to create a computational abstraction of my family archive of photos and field recordings. This collection of media represents my family and ancestors, the material bodies that exist and have existed in the natural or “ordinary” world, saved in digital formats to be conjured up at will on a computer screen. It’s as if the machine has been taught to stand in for a spiritual medium in a séance.

The work consists of a video projection with sound that maps this collection of photo and video files onto sets of platonic solids that rotate, stretch, and fracture within the frame. The programmed algorithm continuously selects these files from separate folders, one containing scanned images of family photos spanning from the 1890s to the present, documenting my family's path from Europe to Cuba and the U.S. and in the other, a collection of videos featuring natural elements like water, wind, fire, and earth taken over the years in places I have lived and traveled. These ever-changing images give the viewer slight and fleeting glimpses of bodies and faces combined with specific geographies as the program randomly cycles through hundreds of files in the two folders. Through this obfuscating algorithm the images are never completely rendered for the viewer. This temporality suggests a ghostly reality in virtual space, or in shamanic terminology, a non-ordinary reality, as well as a consistent sense of loss through the process of mediation.