potential herbariums

2020

Potential Herbariums is an array of works leveraging both artificial intelligence and physical herbariums, where botanic treasures are collected, dried and precisely identified. Using the generative potential of GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks) as a raw material, we explore new forms and question the fate of nature in our contemporary age.
Intense craftsmanship is here invoked, not only to create our very own « dataset » of millions of herbariums, but also to reach high image resolutions -a significant mathematical fight and to avoid pixellation and artefacts usually seen in the outcome of GANs.
Image: imaginary herbariums produced by our GANs, used as raw materials.

« When we started working on Potential Herbariums we gathered many images from existing herbariums worldwide, but also created our own, by collecting thousands of plants and flowers in the French mountains of Savoie.
Over time, it was quite astonishing to see that the “imaginary plants” (…) were almost following an anti-Darwinian path.
Indeed, we found circular or cut stems, immense leaves with only fragile hooks, and more generally, vegetal forms that would not have been able to survive in our known nature.
We were quite frightened, as this looked like what plants would transform into, if they had chosen to give up on us, and silently leave our world. »
Interview for Cueva Gallery

Image: A Rebours V, AV-2020-M-5, Inkjet Print and oil pastel on Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta Paper, 30x40cm, Oak wood frame, Edition of 10 + 4 AP, Cueva Gallery

Work currently in progress