Memo Akten – Deep Meditations
‘Deep Meditations’ explores the intersections of technology and spirituality, making a deep dive into the inner world of an artificial neural network. The work consists of five vertical screens, representing the collective consciousness of humanity and giving a visual representation to those subjective concepts that make us inherently human.
The network is trained on everything in the most literal sense: images labelled ‘everything’ from the photo-sharing website Flickr, as well other abstract, subjective concepts such as ‘life’, ‘love’, ‘art’, ‘faith’, ‘ritual’, ‘worship’, ‘god’, ‘nature’, ‘physics’, ‘universe’, ‘cosmos’ and many more.
As these concepts have no physical form, the network learns what our collective consciousness has decided they look like, catalogued by the internet, taking us on a slow and meditative journey through the imagination of a machine.
The sound of the art piece is generated by a second neural network, trained on hours of religious and spiritual chants, prayers and rituals from around the world, scraped from YouTube.
Memo Akten is an artist, researcher and philomath from Istanbul, Turkey, working with computation as a medium to explore the collisions between nature, science, technology, ethics, ritual, tradition and religion. He is currently pursuing a PhD at Goldsmiths in London on machine learning and expressive human-machine interaction, to enable collaborative creativity between humans and machines.