The Artist in the Machine

Form, it is sometimes said, is like a mechanical framework that is only brought to life with corresponding content. Architectural form can also have an inherent rigidity – as long as it is not “animated” through artistic means or practical everyday solutions. But what if this animating function itself is outsourced to the machine? What if the artistic process is delegated to computational procedures? Is this less creative than a result conceived by humans, or is there possibly “more” of the creative evident here?  

Claudia Larcher investigates this complex of questions by means of an experimental arrangement she has designed. She fed the data from her collage series Baumeister (2011–2021) into a self-learning neural network – or rather two of them, consisting of a “generator” and a “discriminator” (together called “GAN”). The program called “Artificial Assistant No. 2” is intended to create works based on this setup – and does so brilliantly! At first one seems to perceive a solid structure emerging, in the form of a greyish modernist façade. But such old-fashioned illusions soon come to an end. The crafty machine-mind constantly stretches, distorts, and bends the image, which simply will not come to a stop. Even in the second attempt, nothing here really wants to become a “form” – or if it does, then it’s something that lies beyond all formalistic thinking. Adding to all this is the soundtrack, which is synchronized with the unstable wafting image, and derived from it using “assistants” called Dynascore and Imaginary Soundscape. It hammers and whistles, trumpets and whirrs – while the digital master builder at work here condenses its work into ever more amorphous streams of the Art Informel.  

In the end, this android didn’t dream of electric sheep, but instead freed itself from any “humanoid” appearance. (Christian Höller)

Translation: John Wojtowicz

Orig. Title
The Artist in the Machine
3 min 26 sec
Claudia Larcher
Experimental, Animation/Computeranimation
Orig. Language
No Dialogue
TAITM_01 (Image)
TAITM_02 (Image)
TAITM_03 (Image)
Claudia Larcher
Concept & Realization
Claudia Larcher
Available Formats
Digital File (prores, h264) (Distribution Copy)
DCP 2K flat (Distribution Copy)
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
Frame Rate
30 fps
Color Format
Festivals (Selection)
Best Austrian Animation Film Festival (Beste Experimentel Animation)
Leipzig - Dok Leipzig - Int. Festival für Dok.- u. Animationsfilm
Ljubljana - Animateka. Int Animation Festival
Wiesbaden - exground on screen
Jihlava - International Documentary Festival
London Int. Animation Festival LIAF
Melbourne - MIAF International Animation Filmfestival
Las Palmas - LPA Film Festival
Stuttgart - Int. Trickfilm-Festival
Wien - Tricky Women / Tricky Realities - Int'l Animation Filmfestival
Wien - VIS Vienna Shorts
New York - Monticello Park Film Festival
Madrid - Margenes - Festival de Cine Independiente
Beyoglu/ Istanbul - IFSAK Short Film Festival