Myriad (Tulips) and Mosaic Virus


2018 and 2019 / C-Type Digital Prints with Handwritten Annotations, Magnetic Paint, Magnets, Ink

A system of knowledge may seem like an usual place to find artistic inspiration. For Anna Ridler, the process of knowing is key to her exploration of machine learning—and her ability to create new and unusual creative narratives.

The Experience

The Process

The photographs from Myriad (Tulips) served as the training set for the creation of Mosaic Virus. Over three months spent in Utrecht, Netherlands—roughly the length of a tulip season—Anna captured a myriad of digital photos (10,000) of individual flowers. She then printed and hand-labeled the color, size, and shape of each tulip to accentuate the human element to data gathering.

A deep learning model can generate endless tulips, but within the art market, work is only ‘valuable’ once it’s scarce. In this work, the shape and appearance of the tulip is controlled by the price of bitcoin. As the price goes up, the tulips become more stripey (mirroring how striped tulips were deemed most valuable at the height of tulipmania). Labelling the dataset she made with information about the tulips allowed Anna to have more control over the eventual GAN output.

Anna is interested in working with machine learning techniques not to showcase the technology, but as a way to engage with ideas of memory, the role of the creator, the prospect of degeneration, and working through concepts around classification and ontology. Machine learning lets her embed these ideas in the process and bring out associations, expectations, and traces that she wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

Anna Ridler

Anna Ridler

Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher who lives and works in London and has multiple degrees. She was listed by Artnet as one of nine “pioneering artists” exploring AI’s creative potential and received an honorary mention in the 2019 Ars Electronica Golden Nica award for the category AI & Life Art. The same year, she was nominated for the 2019 “Design of the Year” award by the Design Museum for her work on datasets and categorization. Anna received the 2019-2020 Google Artists and Machine Intelligence Grant (AMI) where she is currently working on an online experience that will be featured on Google Arts & Culture later this year.
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Featured Sessions

AI Representing Natural Forms in AI

It's said that art imitates life, but what if that art is flora and fauna created by an artist using artificial intelligence? Join a discussion with artists Sofia Crespo, Feileacan McCormick, Anna Ridler, and Daniel Ambrosi and NVIDIA technical specialist Chris Hebert to explore how they use AI in their creative process of generating interpretations of natural forms.

A Conversation with Artists Using AI

This panel discussion with the GTC AI Art Gallery artists, Anna Ridler, Scott Eaton, and Sofia Crespo will explore their personal journeys that led to connecting AI and fine art, how the technology has influenced their artistic process, why AI is important in the broader field of fine art, how art education intersects with AI education, and whether AI will be capable of achieving autonomous control over the creative process.