[ISEA2011] Paper: Alan Dunning & Paul Woodrow – ColourBlind

Abstract

The Einstein’s Brain Project is a group of scientists and artists working together to develop installations and environments exploring ideas about consciousness and the new constructions of the body. Recent work has used strategies taken from paranormal science and psychology to explore how interpretation in shared machine-human environments contributes to the construction of our worlds.
This paper briefly introduces and contextualizes a new, developing work – ColourBlind – that explores the internal workings of a machine through an implementation of the Ganzfield Effect and Closed Eye Visualisation as they relate to ideas about hallucination in human and machine hybrids. The work explores ideas about machine vision and how hybrid interpretation gives rise to unbidden and unexpected colours, images and patterns in streams of unstructured data, and considers these as machine hallucinations.

This examination of the work ColourBlind, explores machine vision and computational analysis to examine a machine’s interiority – its phenomenal self-model, asking the question where is this model to be found? It does so in, in the context of earlier work that used ideas found in Electronic Voice and Video Phenomena to explore ideas about presence and absence, and pattern and randomness. These installations took the form of blinded cameras that sent visual and audio noise to a computer that analysed it for patterns that looked like human faces and sounded like human speech.

New work suggests it is possible to use machines and their interiorities in a phenomenologically driven investigation to discover hallucinatory tendencies that can create something akin to machine imagination. Increasingly our machines see and discriminate much as we do, and in turn change our perception of the world. This paper explores ideas about how we and machines see and experience the world, and raises questions about the capacity of both to discriminate. In the search for pattern in randomness, for colour where there is none, when faced with the horror vacui of sensory deprivation, the brain, and in this case the machine, we suggest continues its processing regardless, creating its own colours and forms as interpretative hallucinations, as part of a grid of a memoriously relational world.

  • Alan Dunning is an artist living in Calgary, Canada. He is a member of the Media Arts & Digital Technologies Department at the Alberta College of Art, and an Adjunct Professor in Computing Science at the University of Calgary, Canada. THE EINSTEIN’S BRAIN PROJECT.  Video: Phantom from The Einstein
  • Paul Woodrow 

Full text (PDF) p. 732-737