reCAPTURED

CAPTCHA - “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.”

reCAPTURED originated as an impulsive reaction to CAPTCHA systems. The information leveraged in CAPTCHA systems possesses a variety of sources, but some of it undoubtedly originates from large-scale data gathering efforts. Users, in turn, offer free labor to corporate entities by labeling and reacting to this data. Through reCAPTURED I contemplate my entanglements, reliance upon entities like Google. My lack of resources initiates this dependence, to some extent. But is my willingness forgivable?


One particular resource I have relied on is Deep Dream, an accessible convolutional neural network developed in partnership with Google. As these entities are entangled, so I am entangled. Using Google Maps’ Street View, I take a tour through my hometown, dropping myself in front of places where I licked ice cream from my fingers on a sweaty day, listened to saturated music, cradled fingers around a crisp beer, or ran to find cover from the rain. I snap a screenshot every time I feel something, a pinching or warming sensation from somewhere in the back of my mind or stomach perhaps. With these images spattered across my desktop, I return to Deep Dream. I pick a screenshot and then an image of one of my paintings, letting the machine process and spit them back out at me, combined into one.


Marvelous swirls of color shattered in ways I cannot replicate precisely, I let the image ignite a sense of wonder renewed in me, repulsed by my easily inspired sense of fantasy. The image is novel and edible, rich in confusion as it transmutes from electricity to paint - the child of a tragically contemporary painter, consumed and consuming constantly. Yet I decide where the paint slips, where the color strays and breaks. This manufactured surface and slime is my field and I will bathe in the disorientation I feel as fiber meets fiber and falls away.

 

A familiar landscape - consumed as data and resurrected as memory.