Interpreted is a series of woven tapestries portraying a year’s worth of global news as seen through the eyes of artificial intelligence (AI).
With a gaze fixed on the future, Interpreted has its roots in the past. Since medieval times, woven tapestries have been used to record significant events. They portrayed truth as seen by the powers that commissioned them, and often contained mistakes made by weavers. The makers of AI products also have their own biases and ulterior motivations, which are invisible to the consumer. They, too, can make mistakes. With the use of AI tools growing at an alarming rate, Interpreted raises timely questions about how facts are gathered, curated and presented to us in the new world we already inhabit.
Although the exhibition consists of physical tapestries, at its core Interpreted is a new media project. Drawing on a decade of experience as a software developer, Scholes has created an automated program which continually reviews all news articles as they are published around the world. An AI tool is employed to create a single image that represents each day. Using generative art techniques, the days are collected into months, and incorporated into a unique tapestry design. The result is autonomously sent off to be woven and eventually delivered by post to Jonny Scholes’ studio.
Interpreted attempts to illustrate the erosion of information as it is captured, distilled and re-disseminated. To understand the works in this exhibition, the viewer must unpick each piece with a critical eye. There are potential inaccuracies at every step – commissioner, maker, distributor and consumer all play a hand. Scholes’ exhibition asks us to consider how the artificial curation of information will impact our future years, days or minutes – and whether we are happy for AI to become a core part of the way we record our history.
Interpreted opened at SOCIAL Gallery, Salamanca Place, in nipaluna/Hobart, lutruwita/Tasmania on July 20th and ran until August 1st 2023.