Kyle Steinfeld, Titus Ebbecke, Georgios Grigoriadis, & David Zhou
A dataset of fragmented and decontextualized Greco-Roman sculptural relief underlies the generation of uncanny forms that straddle the unrecognizable and the familiar. Samples include those drawn from the Pergamon Altar: a Greek construction originating in modern-day Turkey, disassembled in the late 19th century, and re-assembled in the early 20th century in a Berlin museum. The project operates similarly. It begins with a disassembly of selected sculptural forms into fragments that can be described as deformations of a flat sheet. Where ML processes often struggle to describe three-dimensional form, these "vector displacement maps" are comprehensible to the machine, and serve to train a neural network - a gently modified implementation of StyleGAN - to understand the form-language of the selected source material. Recalling the rhythmic symmetry of frieze patterns found in traditional Western ornament, a "walk" through the latent space of Greco-Roman sculptural forms is aggregated across a surface in high relief.