Philipp Schmitt

A Computer Walks Into A Gallery …

Site-specific installation, painted wood, 13ft x 8ft

Commissioned by DAAD for the Consulate General of Germany in New York, the installation revisits a permanent artwork in the consulate's lobby gallery. Michael Morgner's “Schreitender” (engl. title: “Man Pacing”) was shown to a computer vision algorithms trying to “see” features in the image.

The algorithms predictions are denoted by “bounding boxes,“ iconic visual markings of machine vision, here rendered in painted wood and suspended in front of the painting. The installation is a physical manifestation of positionality (shared by machine vision and any human account of a work of art), and questions what work the visual forms of artificial intelligence do for the technology semiotically.

The bounding box of computer vision, with its precisely-drawn lines and razor-sharp corners, with its bright hues in maximum contrast with the real world, mobilizes claims for objectivity, authority, and truth, promised by artificial intelligence.