Gallery print on aluminium plate with 3mm acrylic cover
47.2 × 26.4 in
120 × 67 cm
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.
Born in 1970, Klingemann grew up in the age of the first handheld computer games, arcade machines and home computers. An autodidact, Klingemann began learning computer programming in the 1980s, and aspired to a career that synthesized technology and the visual arts. Finding no such option available at the time, Klingemann started his professional life in advertising and design. In 1994, he began creating websites on the still-nascent World Wide Web, and in 1997 Klingemann co-founded coma, a collective of media artists. Since then, his artistic practice has evolved alongside breakthroughs in AI and deep learning, with Klingemann’s contributions at the leading edge.
Klingemann has worked with prestigious institutions including The British Library, Cardiff University and New York PublicLibrary, and was Artist in Residence at Google Arts and Culture. His artworks have been exhibited at MoMA NewYork, the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, the Photographers’ Gallery London, ZKM Karlsruhe, and CentrePompidou Paris. Klingemann received the British Library Labs Artistic Award 2016 and in 2018 won the Lumen PrizeGold Award, which celebrates artworks made with technology. His installation Memories of Passersby I made history in March 2019 as the first autonomous AI machine to be successfully auctioned at Sotheby’s.