Vera van der Burg

Department: Contextual Design

Still Life

What: An exploration of what happens if machine-learning algorithms are trained to become subjective.

Why: An object is never just an isolated entity. It is connected to a context, memory or feeling. This is what gives things meaning. But how to teach meaning to algorithms that are being developed to look upon our world with an automated gaze?

How: Vera van der Burg trained a speculative algorithm with datasets of her emotions. Scanning a still life of ambiguous objects that she created, the algorithm interprets their emotional content. Unlike vanitas paintings, which remind us of life’s meaninglessness, the scene through the eye of the machine reminds us of our desire to find meaning.

“What if I enter the data of my soul into a machine?”

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Nicole Marnati