Chao-Ming James Teng: Your Memory, Connected. – Shall I compare Thee to a Summer’s Day

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    Your Memory, Connected. - Shall I compare Thee to a Summer's Day



    2D imaging


    24" x 24"


Artist Statement:

    Painting, traditionally, is a way for an artist to communicate their perspectives, feelings about, or ways of understanding a subject. Your Memory, Connected challenges this definition of painting by allowing artists to gather and paint with tens of thousands of other perspectives, feelings, and understandings through our artificially intelligent “art-bot” system.

    This system can read an art subject and automatically generate a collaged artwork that fuses together individual memory responses. It uses natural-language processing, concept reasoning, and textual ­affect sensing techniques to collect all the related memories from people who have stored images on Flickr. The system’s computational “memory retrieval” procedure simulates the evocation process when human brains are triggered. The machine then generates a collage based on all the images and text it finds online. Instead of a montage assembled to create a visual image, this generates montages that materialize concepts, statements, and memories.

    Through this work, we intend to create a collaborative and generative painting process using advanced artificial-intelligence techniques. We want to emphasize the facts that Flickr (or any of the other image web sites) is itself an enormous pool of memories of people around the world, and the act of browsing such a site is an act of accessing (peeping?) those memories. We designed this interaction to allow people to discuss the role of authors and viewers of artwork and col­laborative creation of artwork across time and space.

Technical Information:

    Our system generates this image by taking William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 as textual input, executing the following steps:

    1. Analyze the sonnet, extracting its objects, concepts,
    and affective structures/transitions.

    2. Go to, collect all the photos that are tagged with keywords that are conceptually and affectively relevant to the sonnet.

    3. Apply a treemap algorithm to fill the canvas with all the images collected.

    Step one is achieved by our natural-language processing engine, a concept-reasoning algorithm that uses a tool called ConcepNet, and an affect-structure-detection algorithm that senses the emotion distribution of any paragraph of text. With these tools, we determine how similar two images are in concept and emotional evocation. Step three is then achieved by collecting images that are similar and creating a collage of those images using a modified treemap algo­rithm originally designed by Ben Shneiderman during the 1900s.