AI Dreams began from a fascination with James Turrell’s Ganzfeld. The ephemeral light installation was rooted in the Ganzfeld Effect, a neurological theory proposing that visual and audio sensory deprivation causes spatial hallucinations. Humans are wired to understand their surroundings through input of physical barriers. The Ganzfeld Effect is the absence of these barriers. Without visual markers our brain fills the gaps, causing hallucinations of objects and space.
Within Turrell’s light-filled rooms, there are no features—corners are smooth, the room is sound insulated, and patrons are encouraged to remain in the exhibit for at least six minutes, the amount of time to experience Ganzfeld.
Though AI Dreams was inspired by the absence of stimulation, the project produced the antithesis of Turrell’s featureless rooms. Through the exploration of a StyleGAN, the ephemeral and dream-like qualities surfaced in a different way. Again, without features within the images fed into and produced by the StyleGAN, the AI script created physical features without context.
This project brought this exploration to the point where completely unexpected surface treatments were generated and they could produce a disorienting effect or an overstimulating space. However, I feel that this is only the beginning of where this research could go.
2021-2022 Design Excellence Award Winner
Instructor: Clay Odom