Created by Selcuk Artut, Variable is an artwork that explores the signification of terms in artists’ statements. The artwork uses machine learning algorithms to thoughtfully problematise the limitations of algorithms and encourage the visitor to reflect on poststructuralism’s ontological questions.
Composed of eight screens animating a display of eight letter words, with the touch of a button Variable invites visitors to recompose the artwork’s title and its artistic statement. The work was inspired by the complexity of Martin Heidegger’s philosophical book “Being and Time”. Being and Time was trained to a machine learning algorithm to generate paragraphs made of three sentences at any request. In Variable, nine Raspberry Pi computers were interconnected to a local network and the communication was achieved with the use of OSC protocol. Main computer facilitates Markov Chain operations based on a Python Library and generates a new text when a button is triggered by the visitor. Display interfaces and the OSC communication were built in Processing.
Additionally, very thin fluorescent bulbs have been mounted in between the display screens as physical separators with bright white emitting lights. Next to the main structure of the piece, a 5-inch LCD display mounted in a box has been placed to display information about the art piece.
When a visitor pushes a button a completely new title and a statement is regenerated immediately. At the same time, the new title is broken into letters and on each of the display screens placed in front of the art piece, a flowing text animation begins. Generated texts are commonly dominated with ontological questions based on the “being”, and the words of being are string replaced with generated artwork’s titles. As a result, the artistic statement is formed into an ontological text philosophizing on a conceptual artistic title based on Heidegger’s philosophical text with Machine taught algorithm interpretations.