La Révolte des Machines
La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel:
A Fusion of Art and AI
Welcome to “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel” a groundbreaking exhibition that seamlessly blends the worlds of art, technology, and imagination. This captivating collection of sculptural objects, brought to life through Artificial Intelligence and advanced digital manufacturing techniques, pays homage to the iconic illustrations of Frans Masereel for Romain Rolland’s “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée” from 1921 (29 of the 33 original woodblocks and a unique copy of the 1921 edition (Editions du Sablier) will be on display). As we explore this exhibition, we embark on a journey that transcends the boundaries of time, offering a glimpse into the future while paying tribute to the past.
The Intersection of Art and Technology
In an era where the lines between the human and the machine become increasingly blurred, “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel” serves as a testament to the symbiotic relationship between art and technology. Through the creative prowess of AI and the precision of 3D printing and CNC milling, we breathe life into the vivid imagery first imagined by Masereel almost a century ago. These machines, once tools of industry, now stand as both creators and protagonists in their own narratives.
It all began in 2021 when a machine learning model, prompted by the seemingly simple phrase “danny devos”, ignited a creative revolution. This model, inspired by human ingenuity, generated a staggering 397 works of art. These initial works laid the foundation for what you see before you today—sculptural masterpieces that bridge the gap between human expression and machine intelligence.
Reimagining Masereel’s Vision
Frans Masereel’s striking illustrations for “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée” have long been celebrated for their ability to convey the complexities of human existence. In this exhibition, we reimagine Masereel’s vision, leveraging the power of machine learning models to generate sculptural objects that evoke the spirit of his work. These pieces not only pay homage to the original illustrations but also explore the profound themes of societal upheaval, technological evolution, and the relentless pursuit of autonomy.
The Dance of Electric Motors and Microcontrollers
At the heart of “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel” lies the synergy between art and engineering. Electric motors, guided by microcontrollers, infuse the sculptures with kinetic energy, bringing them to life. These motors, once obedient servants to human whims, now express their own desires and intentions, echoing the very rebellion that Masereel’s illustrations so vividly depicted.
A Glimpse into Tomorrow
As you traverse this exhibition, you are transported to a future where machines, AI, and art converge in astonishing harmony. “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel” invites you to contemplate the ever- changing relationship between humans and technology, urging us to reflect on the consequences of our relentless pursuit of progress.
“La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel” is not merely an exhibition; it is a testament to the limitless possibilities that arise when art and technology join forces. We invite you to immerse yourself in this captivating fusion of past and future, human and machine, and to ponder the profound questions it raises about our role in the evolving narrative of technology. As we look back to Masereel’s time and forward to the future, we realise that the true revolt is not of the machines, but of our own creativity and capacity to shape the world around us.
Thank you for joining us on this extraordinary journey.
The Birth of a Creative Revolution
In 2021, the seeds of a creative revolution were sown when a machine learning model received a seemingly straightforward command: “danny devos”. This moment marked the inception of a journey into the uncharted territory of art and artificial intelligence. The machine, inspired by this enigmatic prompt, embarked on an artistic odyssey, giving birth to 397 unique works of art.
These initial works, born from the fusion of human curiosity and machine intelligence, were not mere replicas or imitations. Instead, they emerged as distinct expressions, reflecting the essence of Danny Devos, a symbol of artistic innovation and exploration. They served as the catalyst for what would become “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel.”
From Pixels to Sculpture: The Evolution of Art
What began as a collection of digital images evolved into something far more profound. These digital creations, each a pixelated reflection of machine- generated creativity, served as the foundation upon which our sculptural objects now stand. The transition from digital to physical was a transformative process, one that symbolises the evolution of art itself.
These works are a testament to the boundless potential of AI and machine learning, not as mere tools but as collaborators in the creative process. They challenge our preconceptions of what art can be and invite us to explore the blurred boundaries between human ingenuity and artificial intelligence.
A Continuation of the Creative Legacy
As we stand in this exhibition today, we acknowledge that the earliest works from 2021 are not just artefacts of the past but living testaments to the enduring partnership between human creativity and technological innovation. They remind us that, in the ever-expanding landscape of art, the line between artist and machine is increasingly porous, offering new horizons for exploration andexpression.
In “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel”, we celebrate the fusion of art and AI, where the ghostly whispers of “danny devos” have given rise to a symphony of creativity that reverberates through time. These works challenge us to embrace the future, where machines are not adversaries but collaborators, sparking a dialogue that transcends the limitations of our own imaginations.
These earliest works, generated in response to “danny devos”, represent the genesis of this exhibition—an ode to the enduring spirit of innovation and the limitless possibilities that lie at the intersection of art and technology. They invite us to contemplate not only where we have been but where we are headed, forging a path toward a future where creativity knows no bounds.
The 12 Faces of AI: From Digital to Stone
Amidst the symphony of creative endeavours that define “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel”, we encounter a remarkable fusion of digital ingenuity and tangible craftsmanship. In an age where AI’s influence is pervasive, we present “The 12 Faces of AI”, a series of twelve images brought into existence by a DeepAI Machine Learning Model, inspired by the evocative prompt: “The Face of AI”.
These digital canvases, born from lines of code and data, transcend the ephemeral nature of their origin. They are not merely images but gateways into the enigmatic visage of artificial intelligence. Each stroke, each contour, and each pixel is a testament to the interplay between human curiosity and machine intelligence.
However, “The 12 Faces of AI” are not confined to the digital realm. These ethereal images have been immortalised in blue stone, each measuring 15cm x 15cm x 2cm. Through the precision of laser engraving, these stones have been sculpted to carry the essence of AI into the physical world. The cool, smooth surface of the stone becomes a canvas where the digital and the corporeal converge.
The choice of blue stone is deliberate, symbolising the depth and expansiveness of human exploration into the realm of AI. As you engage with these sculptures, allow your fingers to trace the lines etched into the stone, feeling the synergy of human creativity and machine precision.
“The 12 Faces of AI” challenge us to consider the essence of artificial intelligence, not as a mere tool but as a reflection of human aspirations and limitless possibilities. It invites us to contemplate the duality of AI—both a creation of humanity and a force shaping our future. In this exhibition, these sculptures stand as enduring symbols of our quest to understand, harness, and coexist with AI. They beckon us to explore the face of a future where AI is not only a technological marvel but also a canvas for the artistic and philosophical exploration of our times.
As you behold “The 12 Faces of AI” in its stone form, may you be reminded that the intersection of art and technology knows no bounds, continually pushing the boundaries of human expression and imagination.
Le Maître des Machines: A Sculptural Ode to Marteau Pilon
At the heart of “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel”, stands a remarkable creation—a 3D-printed sculpture that pulsates with life, titled “Le Maître des Machines, Martin Pilon dit Marteau Pilon”. This electrifyingmasterpiece is a tribute to Martin Pilon, known affectionately as “Marteau Pilon” by his workers and less charitably as “Pilon Marteau” by his detractors. A man of 40 to 50 years, he possesses an athletic physique and a visage that exudes power, tinged with a hint of grimace.
The sculpture captures the essence of Marteau Pilon, portraying him with an expression that oscillates between boundless energy and moments of eerie sarcasm and disdain. His gestures are abrupt, unrefined, and passionate, reflecting an immense, concentrated force. Marteau Pilon is a man driven by passions—both grand and trivial, a figure who might incite laughter among the foolish, yet never truly descends into the realm of the absurd.
What makes “Le Maître des Machines, Martin Pilon dit Marteau Pilon” truly remarkable is its embodiment of Marteau Pilon’s inner world—an individual marked by excessive nervousness and an underlying current of subconscious electricity. This sculpture channels that latent energy into a tangible form, a testament to the relentless pursuit of innovation and the determination that characterises the pioneers of industry.
As you stand before “Le Maître des Machines, Martin Pilon dit Marteau Pilon”, observe the intricate details that emerge through 3D printing technology. Feel the electric current that runs through it, a metaphorical representation of the charged atmosphere surrounding Marteau Pilon’s endeavours. This sculpture encapsulates the spirit of a man whose very presence could ignite a room,inspiring both reverence and trepidation in equal measure.
In “Le Maître des Machines, Martin Pilon dit Marteau Pilon”, we find not only a homage to a singular individual but also a reflection on the indomitable spirit that drives human progress. It reminds us that innovation, industry, and the relentless pursuit of greatness often find their expression through extraordinary individuals like Marteau Pilon.
In this exhibition, “Le Maître des Machines, Martin Pilon dit Marteau Pilon” stands as a symbol of the creative synergy between art and technology, where the physical and metaphysical intertwine, and the past and the future converge.
Aviette: A Delightful Dance of Youth and Technology
In the soul of “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel”, amidst the mechanical marvels and digital creations, we encounter a charming fusion of youthful exuberance and cutting-edge technology—an enchanting character known as “Aviette”. Aged 18 to 20, Aviette embodies the spirit of youth: sportive, cheerful, mischievous, and fearless. She fears nothing, respects nothing, and is wholly dedicated to the pursuit of fun.
As you witness Aviette’s petite, agile form, you’ll find her to be a sprightly figure, ever ready to leap into action. Her movements are lithe, her demeanour carefree, and her audacity knows no bounds. With an effervescent spirit, she playfully mocks the world around her, a symbol of youthful irreverence.
But Aviette is not just a character; she’s a charming lasercut microcontrolled dancing robot. Within her delicate frame lies a symphony of microcontrollers, precision engineering, and artistic expression. She brings to life the character of Avette, transcending the boundaries of imagination and reality.
We invite you to witness Aviette’s delightful dance performances, scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays—28, 29 October and 4, 5, 11, 12 November 2023—from 14:00 to 18:00 hours. During these enchanting moments, Aviette will grace us with her agile, graceful movements, encapsulating the essence of youth and playfulness through technology.
In Aviette, we celebrate the harmonious blend of artistry and innovation—a testament to the boundless possibilities that arise when we infuse technology with the vivacious spirit of youth. As she twirls and pirouettes, she reminds us that even in the realm of machines, there exists a place for joy, spontaneity, and the ageless spirit of play.
So, join us on those special days to witness Aviette’s enchanting dance, and let her joyful performance spark a sense of wonder and inspiration as we explore the boundaries of creativity in the age of machines.
GIJSELSSTRAAT 60, 2140 BORGERHOUT (BELGIUM)
COVER DESIGN AND SILKSCREEN PRINT BY WALTER SIEMONS
TEXT BASED ON CONVERSATIONS WITH chatGPT 100 COPIES
PRINTED IN BELGIUM
ON THE OCCASION OF THE FRANS MASEREEL / DDV EXHIBITION “La Révolte des Machines ou La Pensée Déchaînée de Frans Masereel”
S&S GALERIE, BORGERHOUT, BELGIUM 27 OCTOBER UNTIL 12 NOVEMBER 2023
MANY THANKS TO EDDY AUSLOOS
INSIDE BACK COVER
“THE ROBOTS” BY FRANS MASEREEL (“Bois refusée” from “COUPLES”, P. VORMS, 1965)