Marcel Schwittlick at ARTJOG

Updated: May 25, 2018

Bringing "Neurodynamics" From Berlin to Yogyakarata

"Neurodynamics" by media artist Marcel Schwittlick

ARTJOG is the biggest annual art fair in south-east Asia, taking place in the Yogyakarta National Museum. Just in case you haven’t had a chance to visit (yet), Yogyakarta is the cultural artistic capital of Indonesia, and for 2018 the curatorial team chose “Enlightenment” as the theme of the art fair.

ARTJOG opening night - Yogyakarta National Museum, Indonesia

During the past few years, Berlin based media artist (and Artqol member), Marcel Schwittlick, has been visiting Indonesia to exhibit a few of his works, hosting workshops and giving art talks in different venues. Through his visits Schwittlick developed relationships with local curators, and was invited by the art fair’s curatorial team to exhibit his projection tryptic called “Neurodynamics”.

The work is essentially an attempt of self-collaboration mediated by a computer, as purely aesthetic animations are generated by machine learning algorithms, specifically a technique called style transfer.

Schwittlick created several black and white structures, with data recycled from his own computer mouse movements during the past few months working on his computer. These semi-generative structures are colored by algorithms, given custom color palettes that are derived from personal photography.

Schwittlick explains: “The process of creating the work was very new and experimental for me. The process is double-sided. One is an underlying graphical narrative that is constructed of white lines on black background. These lines are recorded and recycled from every day-movements of my mouse on the computer, when working.

Then the colors come into play via style transfer, a recent technique from the field of artificial intelligence & machine learning. It's a process to inject a style and color gradients into an image.

It's quite surprising and interesting to see the outcomes of these algorithms. I actually have limited control over it, and the process is very time consuming, as it takes several hours to compute these images, even on a very powerful computer.”

"Conceptually I was very intrigued by the idea of self-collaboration"

This is the second time Schwittlick is invited to exhibit in ARTJOG as one of the 8 international artists from the total of 56 who showcased their works at the fair. The curators Ignatia Nilu, and Bambang "Toko" Witjaksono, are doing an amazing work in the Yogyakarta art scene.

Schwittlick: “For Indonesia and the rest of South-East Asia this exhibition is of outstanding quality. I am very grateful to be selected to join this, alongside internationally successful Indonesian artists like Heri Dono and others."

"Conceptually I was very intrigued by the idea of self-collaboration. With this process I could collaborate with myself in a disconnected way. I could work on two different things and mindsets (photography and programming) and find a way to combine it with machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence. Since my work is utilizing many different media and origins, one red thread is to combine these and create synergies of these different approaches.”