a hybrid ecosystem of natural and digital life forms

The Swamp Intelligence by Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, in collaboration with Jonas Kubilius, is presented at the Taipei Biennial 2020, You and I Dont Live on the Same Planet, curated by Bruno Latour, Martin Guinard and Eva Lin.

The Swamp Intelligence engages a concept of ecosystem where natural forms organically merge with digital life forms. The system is based on an AI algorithm – sngan_projection – that uses white noise to generate hybrids of natural, architectural and technological imagery, uncanny for human perception.

concept: Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas
sngan_projection: Jonas Kubilius
swamp environment fabrication: Simona Kačinskaitė, Rytis Urbanskas

Inside of the wall is nested an ecosystem where natural forms organically merge with digital life forms. Swamp Intelligence is based on a NoPlace Neural Network (NNN), a variant of a conditional AI (artificial intelligence), used to unveil neural network abilities to generate novel visual imagery.

The NNN has two components that work in opposition: a generator that is learning how to generate an image from a noise pattern and a discriminator that tries to guess which image is real and which is generated. In its constant balance between the real and the imagined, NNN mimics the dampening counterforce effect of a biological swamp. The NNN works to find ways to organically combine its architectural proposals into existing landscapes. Subject to strict logic and lacking context, the machine quite paradoxically becomes less restricted in its process of imagining than the artist who sets it up, producing rather unsettling imagery for an observer to interpret.

Image credits:
Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas, in collaboration with Jonas Kubilius. Swamp Intelligence (installation view), 2018–2020, AI installation, sngan_projection, diorama, 205×40×242 cm. Courtesy of the Artist and Taipei Fine Arts Museum