Arcana is a series of three works created by Mario Klingemann for the group show Arcana 1 held at the Orangerie München in 2019. Each artist was invited to interpret three randomly drawn Tarot cards; Klingemann was dealt Temperance, Strength and The Hanged Man, which he used as starting points for Between Us, Hadron Councellor and This Side Up. Abstract compositions that eerily allude to figuration, these three prints were all developed using neural networks and are rich in the digital textures characteristic of Klingemann’s art.
Working first with a classification model, Klingemann identified the keywords and labels most commonly associated with classic Tarot cards before then using the BigGAN neural network to generate images based on these concepts. From the thousands of options proposed by the AI model, the artist hand-picked certain images, which were then developed using “neural glitch,” Klingemann’s technique to transform the AI output using visual anomalies known as digital artefacts.Finally, texture and colour were further enriched through a process Klingemann defines as “transhancement.”
The result of a painstaking process involving human and AI decision-making, the Arcana series not only reflects Klingemann’s interest in visual experimentation, but inevitably draws parallels between the search for meaning in Tarot and our contemporary relationship with technology.
Images courtesy of Onkaos.