An AI Computer Watched Hitchcock’s Vertigo 20 Times & Then Made Its Own Disturbing Movie

If you could watch only one movie, Alfred Hitch­cock­’s Ver­ti­go would hard­ly be the worst choice. Its con­tain­ment and expres­sion of such a range of cin­e­ma’s pos­si­bil­i­ties sure­ly did its part to bring it to the top spot on Sight & Sound’s most recent crit­ics’ poll of the great­est films of all time. But what if Ver­ti­go was all you knew of the entire world? Such is the case with the arti­fi­cial-intel­li­gence sys­tem used by artist Chris Peters to cre­ate “Ver­ti­go A.I.,” the short film above. As the sys­tem repeat­ed­ly “watched” Ver­ti­go over a two-day peri­od, says Peters’ offi­cial site, the artist “record­ed the machine’s neur­al net­work form­ing in real time — the ‘movie expe­ri­ence’ — made man­i­fest.”

This expe­ri­ence is a five-minute film, “not footage in the tra­di­tion­al sense of pho­tographed scenes, but footage of the inter­nal expe­ri­ence of a new intel­li­gence learn­ing about our world for the first time.” As for what we hear, “a sep­a­rate A.I. was used to write a nar­ra­tion for the record­ings. Giv­en a few lines of dia­logue from Ver­ti­go, the machine gen­er­at­ed sen­tences that went off on their own wild tan­gents.”

After about thir­ty sec­onds, any cinephile will rec­og­nize the visu­al source mate­r­i­al. As for the “sto­ry” told over the images, one can only imag­ine what process­es the cho­sen pieces of Ver­ti­go’s screen­play went through in the mind of the machine. “In the dream, I was in a room with a fig­ure,” begins the nar­ra­tor. “He was tall and cov­ered in white.”

Dreams make for noto­ri­ous­ly dull sub­ject mat­ter, but then, the endur­ing appeal of cin­e­ma has long been explained through its abil­i­ty to trans­port us into a state not at all dis­sim­i­lar from dream­ing. Ver­ti­go in par­tic­u­lar, as Sight & Sound edi­tor Nick James puts it, is “a dream-like film about peo­ple who are not sure who they are but who are busy recon­struct­ing them­selves and each oth­er to fit a kind of cin­e­ma ide­al of the ide­al soul-mate.” 27 spots below it on the mag­a­zine’s crit­ics’ poll comes Mul­hol­land Dri­ve by David Lynch, a film sim­i­lar­ly praised for its com­pelling but elu­sive sto­ry and its images seem­ing­ly pulled straight from the uncon­scious. Suit­ably, “Ver­ti­go A.I.” has some­thing more than a lit­tle Lynchi­an about it, mak­ing one won­der how the A.I. would han­dle Lynch’s fil­mog­ra­phy — and how we would han­dle the result.

via Aeon

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­tin Scors­ese Intro­duces Clas­sic Movies: From Cit­i­zen Kane and Ver­ti­go to Lawrence of Ara­bia and Gone with the Wind

Gaze at Glob­al Movie Posters for Hitchcock’s Ver­ti­go: U.S., Japan, Italy, Poland & Beyond

Aban­doned Alter­nate Titles for Two Great Films: Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove and Hitchcock’s Ver­ti­go

Watch “Sun­spring,” the Sci-Fi Film Writ­ten with Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence, Star­ring Thomas Mid­dled­itch (Sil­i­con Val­ley)

Watch Bri­an Eno’s Exper­i­men­tal Film “The Ship,” Made with Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. His projects include the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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