‘Recoding Art: Van Abbemuseum Collection’ premiere at “Bodies of Knowledge” symposium

by May 3, 2019


Bruno Moreschi

Bruno Moreschi is a researcher and artist with projects related to the deconstruction of complex systems, among them the visual arts, especially their physical and virtual spaces of legitimation. He has a PhD in Visual Arts at Unicamp (State University of Campinas/BR), and is a senior research fellow at CAD+SR.


Gabriel Pereira

Gabriel Pereira is a PhD fellow at Aarhus University (Denmark), critically researching data and algorithmic infrastructures. He is a FutureMaking researcher and a CAD+SR research fellow.



On Friday, May 3rd, Gabriel Pereira and Bruno Moreschi presented the result of their research for the Van Abbemuseum (Netherlands), as part of the Deviant Practice programme. The study, entitled “Recoding Art: Van Abbemuseum collection”, analyzed the images of the artworks in the museum’s collection using commercial image-recognition (Computer Vision) Artificial Intelligences from leading tech companies. Pereira and Moreschi looked for glitches, errors and other unexpected readings by the AIs (from their human perspective, evidently). The aim of this was to look for new ways of understanding artworks, by both levelling and expanding their meanings. The images of artworks were often read without their inherent contexts – much different than a traditional human reading. The research also speculated on how the AIs are constructed, and what these “mistakes” reveal about them and their training data, as a way of critically denaturalizing AI’s gaze. 

The video, relating non-traditional footage of the museum with a narration of key aspects of the study process, premiered as part of the “Museum Take Over: Bodies of Knowledge” symposium at the Van Abbemuseum, with a Q&A session. The outcomes of this research also include an academic article to be published by the Deviant Practice research programme (pre-print); two proposals to intervene in the exhibition space; and a draft for a possible publication that presents the museum’s collection through their readings by AI.

Other projects from the Deviant Practice presented on the symposium also explored the “institution’s history, constituencies and local context – from the programme of the museum during the second world war, an expansive presentation of the Gate Foundation Archive and the internationally renowned Vagevuur in Eindhoven.” The programme also included performances, talks, and discussion regarding the presented queer and decolonial approaches to art and research.

“Recoding Art: Van Abbemuseum Collection” was supported by the Deviant Practice programme (Van Abbemuseum) and Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research.



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