Computers Watching Movies

Computers Watching Movies (Exhibition Cut)
computationally-produced HD video with stereo audio
(please play full screen)


Computers Watching Movies shows what a computational system sees when it watches the same films that we do. The work illustrates this vision as a series of temporal sketches, where the sketching process is presented in synchronized time with the audio from the original clip. Viewers are provoked to ask how computer vision differs from their own human vision, and what that difference reveals about our culturally-developed ways of looking. Why do we watch what we watch when we watch it? Will a system without our sense of narrative or historical patterns of vision watch the same things?

Computers Watching Movies was computationally produced using software written by the artist. This software uses computer vision algorithms and artificial intelligence routines to give the system some degree of agency, allowing it to decide what it watches and what it does not. Six well-known clips from popular films are used in the work, enabling many viewers to draw upon their own visual memory of a scene when they watch it. The scenes are from the following movies: 2001: A Space Odyssey, American Beauty, Inception, Taxi Driver, The Matrix, and Annie Hall.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Computers Watching Movies (2001: A Space Odyssey)
computationally-produced HD video with stereo audio
(please play full screen)

American Beauty

Computers Watching Movies (American Beauty)
computationally-produced HD video with stereo audio
(please play full screen)

Inception

Computers Watching Movies (Inception)
computationally-produced HD video with stereo audio
(please play full screen)

The Matrix

Computers Watching Movies (The Matrix)
computationally-produced HD video with stereo audio
(please play full screen)

Taxi Driver

Computers Watching Movies (Taxi Driver)
computationally-produced HD video with stereo audio
(please play full screen)

Annie Hall

Computers Watching Movies (Annie Hall)
computationally-produced HD video with stereo audio
(please play full screen)

Exhibitions

Computers Watching Movies was first exhibited as a large-scale video installation during the University of Illinois 2013 MFA Thesis Exhibition, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL, April 11-28, 2013. Most recently, the work was exhibited as part of COLLISION20 at the Boston Cyberarts Gallery in January-February, 2014.

Exhibition Photo of Computers Watching Movies

Installation Photo of Computers Watching Movies
University of Illinois MFA Thesis Exhibition
2013

Press

Computers Watching Movies on the front page of Wired

Computers Watching Movies on the front page of Wired

Computers Watching Movies has been written about widely. A few examples:

See my blog post on the subject for a full list of press about this project.

Still Frames

Following are the end frames of each individual clip. Click the image to load a full-resolution version.

Computers Watching Movies (2001)

Still Frame from Computers Watching Movies (2001: A Space Odyssey)
(click for full resolution version)

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Still Frame from Computers Watching Movies (American Beauty)
(click for full resolution version)

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Still Frame from Computers Watching Movies (Inception)
(click for full resolution version)

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Still Frame from Computers Watching Movies (The Matrix)
(click for full resolution version)

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Still Frame from Computers Watching Movies (Taxi Driver)
(click for full resolution version)

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Still Frame from Computers Watching Movies (Annie Hall)
(click for full resolution version)