A Fascinating Love Story: AI and Art In Refik Anadol’s Works

Refik Anadol, an inspirational data artist, uses data as a painting brush to reflect mesmerizing images to architecture. In his works, Anadol collects various data sets from wind frequencies to urban vehicle traffic to transform them into visual art installations with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. As he calls this process “using architectural spaces as canvases to transform data into pigments and make buildings hallucinate” the outcome brings urban spaces to life. Machine Hallucination: New York If we were to collect all the memories we shared with our social network and turn them into a dynamic painting, how would it look? In Anadol’s exhibition “Machine Hallucination,” 100 million shared photos in New York have been gathered to create a collective memory of the city in visualization

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Bitely Team
Last update:calendarFeb 22, 2024
Read time:clock6 min
A Fascinating Love Story: AI and Art In Refik Anadol’s Works

Refik Anadol, an inspirational data artist, uses data as a painting brush to reflect mesmerizing images to architecture. In his works, Anadol collects various data sets from wind frequencies to urban vehicle traffic to transform them into visual art installations with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms. As he calls this process “using architectural spaces as canvases to transform data into pigments and make buildings hallucinate” the outcome brings urban spaces to life.



Machine Hallucination: New York


If we were to collect all the memories we shared with our social network and turn them into a dynamic painting, how would it look? In Anadol’s exhibition “Machine Hallucination,” 100 million shared photos in New York have been gathered to create a collective memory of the city in visualization. Perhaps the most exciting thing about this AI-assisted algorithm is that it doesn’t only visualize a collective consciousness of the city, but it can create new memories based on past experiences. The viewers of the work find themselves in a cinematic experience of wonderfully synthesized data and experience a vivid image of a city that is alive.


Visions of America, Ameriques: Los Angeles


In his performance Visions of America, Anadol focuses on capturing live musical data in collaboration with the LA Philharmonic orchestra to project them into visual installations. In this case, the Walt Disney Concert Hall doesn’t make it easier for Anadol to find a suitable surface to install his visuals. However, the artist can use the architecture so effectively to nail it. With the help of custom-built algorithmic sound analysis, music is experienced visually to complement the multiple senses of the viewers. It’s mind-blowing to see various kinds of data transformed into other art forms with the help of artificial intelligence and enhanced engineering. In fact, why do we consider data as boring numbers for corporations and academics while we can imagine them as the eye-opening information surrounding us?


Melting Memories: Istanbul


Anadol works with people with a broad range of expertise, including data and computer scientists, architects, musicians, and even storytellers. In “Melting Memories,” he works closely with neuroscientists to capture the brain activities of individuals while they think of vivid memories they have in their conscious and subconscious minds. The project aims to make machines remember and revive past memories of individuals with the help of EEG (electroencephalogram) that measures brain activity and a custom-built data algorithm to uncover a visualized expression. Anadol goes back to ancient philosophical questions on what memory is and what it really means with sincere curiosity. For example, can machines store memorial data and remember them? More so, could our memories be expressed in a whole different way we haven’t experienced before? The artist makes a striking statement on these questions with his multi-disciplinary works. 


Experiencing Anadol’s works opens up a whole new conversation about how data can be processed and imagined. Data can form inter-relations with every aspect of our lives and find mutual ground for existence. Considering the artificial intelligence technologies to process data continue to improve, striking minds like Anadol will continue to impress through their unique vision of art. As the artist puts it in one of his interviews, “AI can construct things that human intelligence intends to produce but does not have the capacity to do so.”


Unsupervised: MoMA


Unsupervised, a project delves into the question of what kind of dreams a machine would have after encountering the vast art collection of The Museum of Modern Art. Anadol employs artificial intelligence to analyze and convert over two centuries worth of artwork at MoMA. Renowned for his innovative media creations and public installations, Anadol has generated digital artworks that dynamically evolve in real-time. These artworks constantly generate fresh and surreal shapes, enveloping the audience within an immersive and expansive installation.


The artwork titled "Unsupervised" dives into the realms of technology, creativity, and contemporary art. Anadol utilized an advanced machine-learning algorithm to analyze the openly accessible data from MoMA's collection. As the algorithm navigates through its perception of this extensive assortment of artworks, it envisions a reimagined history of modern art, contemplating the possibilities of what might have existed in the past and what could potentially unfold in the future.



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