Interactive Algægraphic Installation | 2017

Lia Giraud

This installation explores the operative and symbolic qualities of the perceptive game in order to offer a new perspective on the life/technical relationship: could these two entities, often thought of in isolation, or even opposed, be brought together here in the form of a sensitive dialogue?
The installation is composed of three systems that put to work the process of appearance and evolution of a living image. Each image is the result of a "dialogical dream" between a strain of micro-algae, photosensitive living cells that materialize the image, and a network of artificial neurons (Deep-dream) that guides the elaboration of the forms produced.

The suspended device (Biological dream), shows the image of a natural landscape that served as a support for the dreams of the neural network: the representation evolves imperceptibly with the 8 successive iterations produced by the algorithm, always accentuating the technicality of the landscape. The living image is observed from underneath, through a red filter that allows the optical disappearance of the negative. Thus, only the fragile agglomerates of micro-algae are made visible.

Overview and details of Technical dream and Biological dream, 2017
Overview and details of Technical dream and Biological dream, 2017

The horizontal device (Technical dream), shows the image of an artificial landscape where the algorithm has dreamed of biological forms: vegetation and animals thus appear in the structure of the plant. The living image, formed in situ, is "fixed" in a nutrient medium that allows its observation in ambient light. This device thus makes it possible to observe the inevitable degradation and disappearance of the organic image.

The central device (Dialogical dream) is composed of a technical-sculptural unit that allows the production of micro-algae and their transport to a vertical aquarium where the living image is formed. A program controls the alternating projection of a negative and a rapid flash of light on the surface of the aquarium: with each flash, a photograph of the position of the algae is taken and is added to an animation which is broadcast in a loop on a projection screen. This accelerated film makes it possible to visualize, almost in real time, the formation of the image and its evolution. A photograph of the aquarium is regularly sent to a Deep-dream program that will interpret the shapes produced by the micro-algae inside the aquarium. This "dreamed" image will then be transformed into a negative and re-projected onto the micro-algae.

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Artistic realization: Lia Giraud (SACre/PSL)
Scientific collaboration: Claude Yéprémian (MNHN)
Programming " Exhibit/Flasher ": Benoit Verjat, Erwan Queffélec
Deep Dream" programming: Loïc Lauréote, Sébastien Treguer
Manufacturing assistance: Pascal Autissier (EnsAD), Adrien Bonnerot, Léopold Lescop, Robin Frolet, Térence Meunier, Théo Vailly
Stage design assistance: Pierre-Yves Dougnac (EnsAD)
Optical advice : Oulfa Chellai
Exhibition photographs: Térence Meunier
Production: Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL Research University), Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (EnsAD), Muséum Nationale d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN)

Dialogical dreaming 2