Algorithmic compositions for public artwork in True North Square, Winnipeg.
Video wall of seven 65″ displays showing different compositions every hour and every day for five years. The piece uses AI/Computer Vision for the detection of objects in each photograph (building with these taxonomies an ever-changing narrative through tags and tag pairs). The artwork takes the speed of the wind and the position of the sun as parameters for the construction of the images. The base archive is comprised by thousands of images from the Globe and Mail and Winnipeg Free Press photo archives. Opening November 2019 in True North Square – Winnipeg, Canada.
An Eye opened by the Wind and the Sun
This is a project that builds a system of living images.
The images are taken from a collection of photographs from Winnipeg and other places of Canada and the world.
An artificial intelligence looks through every picture, in each one points to the objects its eye see.
Using algorithms the window builds different compositions. They are always unique.
With a source of thousands of photographs the system will create infinite compositions.
The window mimics the light of the day changing brightness from dawn till dusk following the position of the sun every time of the year.
(It works like a clock or sundial of sorts)
The speed of appearance of the images is given by the average of the wind speed.
The wind speed is calculated every hour from the database gathered since 1840 until today by the Environment and Climate Change Institute of Canada.
(It works like an anemometer of sorts)
The whole system is based in a video wall of seven UHD displays of 65” in vertical position and a computer.
The window is a machine that works without any human intervention but is human nevertheless.
The whole piece is continuously changing. Sometimes the changes are very subtle. Sometimes are less subtle. It’s a living thing that operates with the sun and the wind of Winnipeg. Like a tree.
It shows landscapes, objects, animals, people. Every thing or moment have the highest importance. It creates new images that nobody have seen or will ever see again.
(Every composition disappearing forever once it is assembled)
It’s like a window that looks into the past from the future
(A window that only exists in the present).
A non-didactic visual history
In David Medina’s thoughtful and eloquent installation a computer, generating images from a source of 14,000 photographs from the Globe and Mail, and Winnipeg Free Press, reveals the rich life and history of Manitoba; it’s landscape, people and their stories set against a broader picture of Canada, and the wider world beyond. A non-didactic visual history of a place and its spirit.
Utilizing wind speed and sun records of the area kept since the early 20th century Medina’s images vary themselves in light and speed in relation to the weather history of any particular day. Thus we are brought into an intimate, ever-changing relationship with a land and people sculpted by the elements.
Medina’s use of wind to create movement in public sculpture harks back to Alexander Calder’s Mobiles, and reminds us that though this is digital art of the Computer Age it is still tied into a long tradition. Art in public spaces today must be flexible to reflect the rapid pace of change in our time and Medina’s storehouse of images, that can be added to or changed altogether, fulfills this purpose admirably.
It is the algorithm that is at the heart of Medina’s working method. He allows the machine to process the digital information and thereby assume the personality of an artist inspired by the elements. Medina’s work is ground breaking and relevant in that it facilitates a seamless merging of nature and culture through the conduit of technology. The past flowers and become familiar to new generations of Manitobans.