Pareidolia. Vie, piazze e monumenti di Roma

Open House with Artists & Round Table on the Occasion of the Exhibition Opening

  • Registration required
  • Beginn: 08.10.2020 17:00
  • Ende: 10.10.2020 13:00
  • Ort: Villino Stroganoff, Via Gregoriana 22, 00187 Rom
  • Kontakt:
 Pareidolia<i>. Vie, piazze e monumenti di Roma</i> <i></i><sub></sub><sup></sup>
Architect Sebastian Felix Ernst (Villa Massimo Fellow 2019-2020) and media artist Christian Losert develop Pareidolia, a research-based exhibition that critically engages with the legacy of renaissance proportions in architecture.

A corpus of architectural drawings featured in Giacomo Antonelli’s volume Vie, piazze e monumenti di Roma (1835), recently digitized from the Bibliotheca Hertziana’s holdings, is turned into a dataset for a “self-learning” neural network designed by Ernst and Losert. After a training process, their software generates drawings translated from algorithmically derived cityscapes. Besides transposing the nineteenth-century visual input into a computational output, Ernst and Losert’s network iteratively produces new rules for its progressive calculations. It thereby accentuates and re-invents, in dream-like visualizations, canonical design elements, relationships and proportions. Machinic pareidolia—the flickering projection of learned patterns—is here employed to test out the potential for variance contained in the scripts of a long influential architectural style, as they undergo contingent, individual interpretation.

Showcased at the Bibliotheca Hertziana’s Sala degli specchi are the rare books on architecture that the software was trained on, as well as visualizations that span across different media and formats. These visualizations provide insights into the algorithmic processuality itself—generally opaque to nonspecialist observers—and into its outcomes. With this constellation of exhibits, Pareidolia seeks to draw attention, more broadly, to the potentials and limitations of the use of artificial intelligence in artistic and architectural practice. What type of expertise does the inventive potency of algorithmic writing presume, and how do its pragmatics and aesthetics generate new knowledge in turn? What meaningful ways of engagement with the past can a combined human and machinic authorship perform, as it re-activates archival materials without losing sight of ever-recurring historical, social, and technical biases?

Sebastian Felix Ernst is a Berlin-based architect and lecturer. His projects blur the boundaries of aesthetic, architectural, and academic research. He has executed full-scale building projects as well as commissioned installations and exhibition displays. Currently he teaches a design studio at Dessau International Architecture Graduate School and is involved in multiple interdisciplinary projects with his practice ERNST-office for architecture. In 2019 he was a fellow at Villa Massimo in Rome.

Christian Losert is a Berlin-based artist, lecturer, and creative technologist in the field of media arts. He works at the intersection of art, design, and contemporary technology. His current practice focuses on self-unfolding installations controlled via computational methods. In his recent works, he incorporates custom-built artificial neural networks as a leading motive of his compositorial contributions.

On the occasion of the exhibition opening, a diverse group of speakers will convene for a round table to discuss Ernst and Losert’s in situ and practice-based approach to the Bibliotheca Hertziana’s holdings: Sebastian Felix Ernst, Sietske Fransen, Christian Losert, Darío Negueruela del Castillo, Marie Theres Stauffer, and Maria Bremer.

This event will be streamed live on our streaming channel.

Registration for On-Site Participation in the Round Table
October 8, 17:00 - 18:00
A limited number of seats are available for on-site participation in the round table. Please contact Mara Freiberg via email as soon as possible:

Registration for the Open House with Artists

Please register here for the open house with artists:

October 9

15:00-16:00: please register HERE

17:00-18:00: please register HERE

October 10

10:00-11:00: please register HERE

12:00-13:00: please register HERE

Scientific organization: Maria Bremer
The exhibition is co-organized with the support of Accademia tedesca Roma Villa Massimo.

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