Taking Life(s)

Samuel Bianchini with the collaboration of Didier Bouchon, 2020

Photographies: © Samuel Bianchini – ADAGP

Still or animated? If the status of image constituting this work is uncertain, under tension, it nevertheless represents an explicit subject: a view over a multireligious military cemetery, composed by many graves of similar forms in an orderly fashion, which differ only in their religious symbols. On a large screen in very high definition, one would expect see a photo, but it is in fact animated, from the inside, in its very “matter”. Particularly noisy, this image is composed of an infinite number of grains set in motion by artificial life and machine learning algorithms. Combined with the pixels of the image, its matter, these grains, try to move and organise themselves to set the image in motion. They are “animated” with their own life force. How could a photograph learn to become a film? Or more broadly – as the status of these artefacts is no longer clear – how could a still image learn to become a moving one, to find itself a “future”? This brings the elementary components of the image into a new dimension, behavioral, which struggles with the very subject of the picture. The still image tries to move, to come to life, getting back to the fundamental meaning of animation, as animating first means giving soul.

Project developed within the Reflective Interaction research group of EnsadLab, laboratory of Ecole nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (EnsAD), Université Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL), with the support of La Chaire Arts & Sciences of Ecole polytechnique, EnsAD-PSL and the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation.

Taking Life(s), installation v.1, 2020
Samuel Bianchini with the collaboration of Didier Bouchon
La Nuit des idées, Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris, January 2020.

Software Engineering (Machine Learning and Genetic Algorithms): Didier Bouchon
Acknowledgments: Alain Declercq