Deep below the main concourse of Chelsea Market in an old boiler room which has been vacant for decades, a revolutionary art movement is blossoming. Artechouse, the first permanent space in New York City devoted to showing new media artworks, opened to the public Monday, September 6th, transforming the historic and previously unused 6,000-square-foot underground room into exhibition space for cutting-edge digital art exhibitions. The debut installation inside Artechouse New York is Machine Hallucinations, an immersive visual and auditory narrative powered by artificial intelligence.
The premiere installation at Artechouse New York – there are two other locations, one in Miami and one in Washington, D.C.– was created by acclaimed digital artist Refik Anadol using over 300 million architectural photographs pulled from public archives. An algorithm powered by artificial intelligence put together all of the images in the data set to create an experiential environment that reveals hidden connections between unique moments in architectural culture and history. At the press preview for the installation, Anadol noted that this exhibition holds the title of many “firsts.” Machine Hallucinations is the first artwork to use algorithms powered by artificial intelligence in an immersive experience, the first to use such cutting edge technology to project the bright images and vivid sound, and it was created with the largest data set every collected for a piece of art. It is also Anadol’s first major solo exhibit in New York, though he has produced other large scale digital works at cultural institutions around the country.
The piece is meant to explore the near future, Anadol said, to see what happens “when data becomes pigment, when technology becomes the brush.” It’s not something that you just look at, you are fully enveloped and a part of the art as it swirls around you on the floor and three surrounding walls. The visuals illustrate a narrative of a machine learning and ultimately dreaming. The music that accompanies the images was composed using samples of radio transmissions and pieces from sound archives of taxis and other city sounds.
The Artechouse experience also includes a balcony level bar where the menu is infused with technology as well. If you download the Artechouse application on a smartphone, the bar’s drinks and coasters come to life with augmented reality. Scanning the logo on the bar’s coasters will pull up a digital version of the menu. If you’re having trouble deciding which cocktail to choose, you can get a recommendation. Move the phone around and digital figures will appear. The five signature cocktails were crafted using the top ingredients from the top ten bars in five of the mixologist’s favorite New York City neighborhoods, the Financial District, Theater District, The Village, The Meatpacking District and Chelsea.
Machine Hallucinations will be on view through January 2020. If you are an Untapped New York Insider, you can join us for a free visit before the show closes. Not an Insider yet? Become a member today to gain access to free behind-the-scenes tours and special events all year long.
Next, check out 20 New Public Art Installations Not to Miss This September 2019