What does a simple wooden box and a woman wearing a body wrap have in common? Only Google, a ‘Hill Climbing Algorithm’ and Shapeways 3D Printer can show us. Venus of Google is an experimental work by artist Matthew Plummer-Fernandez exploring emerging technology and culture.
The Venus of Google was ‘found’ via a Google search-by-image, googling a photograph taken of an object I had been handed over in a game of exquisite corpse. The Google search returned visually similar results, one of these being an image of a woman modeling a body-wrap garment. I then used a similar algorithmic image-comparison technique to drive the automated design of a 3D printable object. The ‘Hill-Climbing’ algorithm starts with a plain box shape and tries thousands of random transformations and comparisons between the shape and the image, eventually mutating towards a form resembling the found image in both shape and colour. I’m interested in this early era of artificial intelligence, computer vision and algorithmic artefacts, exemplifying the paradox of technology being both advanced and primitive at the same time. The Long Tail Multiplier series investigates the potential use of algorithms to create virtually infinite cultural artefacts, inspired by the stories of these algorithmic books and t-shirts.
The Long Tail Multiplier system is based on a Hill Climbing Algorithm. The 3D Mesh render and distortion is done with Processing and the Hemesh library. The image comparison is managed with a Python script calling a command-line tool called ImageMagick.
The object was 3D printed in full color by Shapeways.
Matthew Plummer-Fernandez is an artist exploring emerging technology and culture. He uses scanning, digital fabrication and computational approaches to making artefacts, both physical and digital, that blur the distinction between the two, referencing the digitisation of the everyday. Plummer-Fernandez received his MA from the Royal College of Art in 2009, after studies in Graphic Design and a BEng in Computer-Aided Mechanical Engineering at Kings College London. His work has been exhibited and published globally including relevant articles on Creative Applications, Rhizome, and Creators Project, and has received commissions from curators Arts Co, It’s Nice That, and Selfridges. He is currently based in South East London, working in research at Goldsmiths College.