What would a machine dream about after seeing the collection of The Museum of Modern Art? For Unsupervised, artist Refik Anadol (b. 1985) uses artificial intelligence to interpret and transform more than 200 years of art at MoMA. Known for his groundbreaking media works and public installations, Anadol has created digital artworks that unfold in real time, continuously generating new and otherworldly forms that envelop viewers in a large-scale installation.
Unsupervised is a meditation on technology, creativity, and modern art. Anadol trained a sophisticated machine-learning model to interpret the publicly available data of MoMA’s collection. As the model “walks” through its conception of this vast range of works, it reimagines the history of modern art and dreams about what might have been—and what might be to come. In turn, Anadol incorporates site-specific input from the environment of the Museum’s Gund Lobby—changes in light, movement, acoustics, and the weather outside—to affect the continuously shifting imagery and sound.
AI is often used to classify, process, and generate realistic representations of the world. In contrast, Unsupervised is visionary: it explores fantasy, hallucination, and irrationality, creating an alternate understanding of art-making itself. The installation is based on works that are encoded on the blockchain, a distributed digital ledger, which stands as a public record of Anadol’s art. “I am trying to find ways to connect memories with the future,” the artist has said, “and to make the invisible visible.”
Organized by Michelle Kuo, The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design and Director of Research and Development, with Lydia Mullin, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.
With thanks to Refik Anadol Studio (Alex Morozov, Carrie He, Christian Burke, Daniel Seungmin Lee, Dave Hunt, Efsun Erkılıç, Imaginary Friends, Kerim Karaoglu, Linda Berke, Mert Cobanov, Pelin Kivrak, Ho Man Leung, Kyle McLean, Nidhi Parsana, Raman K. Mustafa, Rishabh Chakrabarty, Simon Burke, Toby Heinemann, Yufan Xie), Casey Reas, Sean Moss-Pultz, and Michael Nguyễn.