Match, The Movie
7 Min. 2005
In an artist’s studio in Rotterdam, a computer is running day and night. The computer is connected to a satellite-dish. The computer is collecting television imagery that is sent out to the world from everywhere to everywhere. At random intervals it records images from about thirty international satellite television channels.
During the night, Image-Recognition software “looks” at the recorded images. The software compares every image with every other single image stored in the computer, checking 5000 characteristics in each image. After 1000.000.000 comparisons, the computer generates a list. Images that share most of their characteristics appear in pairs on top of this list.
In the morning, Geert Mul (the inhibitor of this studio) looks into the list, checking hundreds of pairs of images, which according to the computer make a good visual match. He saves the matches he likes, a few pairs every day. They are saved for ‘the book’. This book.
The computer cannot ‘understand’ the images, it just applies pixel statistics. For the human eye visual similarity is something else than pixel statistics. We attach ‘meaning’ to everything we see. This becomes especially evident when similar images appear to have a contrary meaning. The ‘matches’ found by the computer can trigger a sensation of poetry, humor, beauty or disgust.
Geert Mul’s software transforms a random collection of images into a collection of expressions by connecting to the inds and experiences of his users. He is playing with our inability to ‘see’ without interpretation.