Après Ballet mécanique (2018) is a video created by Frid-Jimenez that uses artificial intelligence to generate a new configuration of Fernand Léger’s experimental film Ballet mécanique (1924). Ballet mécanique is an important and influential work within European modernist art of the early 20th century. Using aggressively experimental film techniques and subject matter, Léger created a new kind of image.
To produce her work, Après Ballet mécanique, Frid-Jimenez takes a similarly experimental approach, using Léger’s film to construct a learning set—the dataset of images used to “train” an artificial neural network—and then reconstruct a new version of the film from within the multidimensional image space produced by the neural network. The result is a very different film, reflecting a sense of time, space and form that is firmly rooted in the age of artificial intelligence.
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Amber Frid-Jimenez, Après Ballet mécanique (excerpts), 2018, two-channel video, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, General Acquisition Fund, VAG 2021.39.1 a-b