Still Image Award

Overload (Consequence)

Mark Lyons


Resulting from an interest in the role of emerging technology within art and its relationship to more traditional modes of making, ‘Overload (Consequence)’ utilises Google’s Deep Dream artificial neural network. The programme was first given a scan of a black ink wash that it interpreted figuratively based on the images within its network. In an attempt to recreate the properties of a drawing, the image was separated tonally, half-toned, then mechanically re-drawn with an XY plotter. The machines deals with a large amount of information and the process takes time. Time and complexity tend to produce variability, unanticipated errors: ink runs low and pens drip as they are reloaded; paper buckles creating inconsistencies in the line; the machines glitch, cutting indiscriminately through the composition. The result is mechanical, visibly systematic but also humanised by its errors and its tactility. Not entirely what was intended by the artist or the programme, raising questions around labour, authorship and intentionality, they are just the consequence of a set of processes.