Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Day Auction on 6 March features a unique creation by artist Mario Klingemann. Memories of Passersby I is a machine installation that uses neural networks to generate an infinite stream of portraits.
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The technology used in the artwork heading to auction is cutting-edge, as no one else has been able to create a machine that can work to create portraits at such speed and at such a high resolution (and that can also fit into a small box to boot).
“I guess I have to thank everyone who plays computer games,” Klingemann says. “Thanks to the high demands of games, graphics cards have become extremely powerful and versatile.” He likens the power consumption of the system to the energy needed to run a fridge. That said, the real-time aspect and the high resolution took “quite some time” to perfect, according to the artist. All in all, he says, he spent about three months training the models, writing the code, and designing the installation.