Mosaic Virus & Myriad (Tulips) (2018)

Anna Ridler

© Anna Ridler
© Anna Ridler

Mosaic Virus
Drawing historical parallels from “tulip-mania” that swept across Netherlands/Europe in the 1630s to the speculation currently ongoing around crypto-currencies, I will create a video work generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) that will show a tulip blooming, an updated version of a Dutch still life for the 21st century. The appearance of the tulip would be controlled by bitcoin price. “Mosaic” is the name of the virus that causes the stripes in a petal which increased their desirability and helped cause the speculative prices during the time. In this piece, the stripes will depend on the value of bitcoin, changing over time to show how the market fluctuates.

Mosaic Virus - Video Excerpt

Myriad (Tulips)
Myriad (Tulips) is an installation of thousands of hand-labeled photographs of tulips; these photographs were later used as the data set for the installations Mosaic Virus 2018 and Mosaic Virus 2019. The installation of all of the photographs is over 50 square meters, giving an overwhelming sense of the time, money, and effort that goes into constructing a data set. In a laborious process, each photograph is carefully affixed one by one with magnets to a specially painted black wall to form a seemingly precise grid. Up close, however, slants and errors come into view, evoking the imperfect and arduous human labour behind machine learning and also its imperfection. The installation helps to expose the human element in machine learning, usually hidden by algorithmic processes. The subject matter of tulips was deliberate, allowing Anna Ridler to make connections between speculation and value through tulipmania in the subsequent Mosaic Virus pieces but also to draw in the history of flowers in machine learning data sets.

Nominated for:

Beazley's Designs of the Year 2019 by the Design Museum London

Exhibited at (selection):

Mutations/Créations: art, innovation and science, Centre Pompidou, Paris 26 Ferbuary - April 20, 20209

AI: More Than Human, Barbican Centre, London, 16 May - 26 August 2019

IMPAKT exhibition: Algorithmic Superstructures, IMPAKT Festival 2018, Utrecht, 24 October - 11 November 2018

Error, Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria, September 2018


2019 Prix Ars Electronica, Artificial Intelligence & Life Art, Honorable mention

Mentions of Mosaic Virus in the media:

Hyperallergic 01-03-2019 "Using AI to Produce “Impossible” Tulips"

Artnet 06-11-2018 "Has Artificial Intelligence Brought Us the Next Great Art Movement? Here Are 9 Pioneering Artists Who Are Exploring AI’s Creative Potential"

Creative Crypto 30-10-2019 "Bitcoin-Inspired Generative Tulips ‘Mosaic Virus'"

Forbes 24-09-2018 "Machine Dreams: Art and Artificial Intelligence"

FastCompany 17-09-2018 "This AI dreams of Tulips"

FutureScape "Mosaic Virus artwork: AI-generated Tulips"

DisruptCyprus 25-09-2018 "Anna Ridler uses a machine learning algorithm to train 10.000 tulip images"

ai.SensiLab 25-08-2018 "Artist interview with Anna Ridler"

MediaScopium 21-08-2018 "From tulip-mania speculation to the cryptocurrency market"

Süddeutsche Zeitung 18-93-2019 "Malen nach Zahlen) in German only

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