This 12 month-long motion art exhibition is a captivating ecological journey through natural and environmental events in our flora, fauna and climate across a full year. Across 4 artworks, ‘Natural Rhythms of Australia’ depicts sequential changes and triggers that occur at specific times of the yearly cycle.
From subtle transformations in the air and soil, specific plant flowerings and fruitings, to noticeable quirks in animal behaviour, it offers that the seasons are not constrained by calendar months and years, but by a cyclical rhythm that sustains and replenishes itself; a rhythm honed over the billions of years that our planet, and the life on it, has existed.
Natural Rhythms of Australia has been commissioned especially for the redevelopment of the North Lobby, and will be showcased on a state-of-the-art, 9x4 metre LED array, which is visible from multiple viewpoints around the precinct.
The 12-month exhibition features four artworks, which will run on a quarterly seasonal cycle, showcasing ecological events associated with that particular time of year.
Natural Rhythms of Australia was developed over the course of a year of research and development, utilising a custom built workflow of generative artificial intelligence tools. The result is a world-first in smooth, ultra-high resolution motion art. The key steps in the process are outlined below.
Artificial intelligence algorithms, which are responsible for the generation of the art itself, work from a data set of available imagery from the world wide web; but can be augmented using image-specific training, or ‘embeddings’, which refines AI’s ‘understanding’ of an object or scene. This process of machine learning involves feeding AI with hundreds of similar, curated images, which it processes to identify patterns and significant features. The ‘knowledge’ it gains from ‘studying’ these images gives the human artists more control and precision in achieving desired output results.
Once AI has been trained on a deeper understanding of certain objects through embedding, we now create written prompts to communicate to AI what we want it to create. Think of it like commissioning an artist to paint a picture. The more description in the prompt, the more control over the result. We can also use images to give AI a starting-point, which will then evolve as the algorithm takes over and ‘develops’ the final artwork. Often AI will include unwanted elements or artifacts; we use negative prompts to avoid this.
There are hundreds of separate parameters which influence almost every aspect of AI’s output. However, AI often produces unexpected results, and it requires continuous, iterative tweaking of these parameters to achieve an output with the highest possible production value. Alongside this, the technology and tools are evolving at lightning speed, with new techniques, training models and features becoming available on what seems like an almost daily basis. By staying on the cutting edge of generative AI, we can continue to achieve unprecedented levels of control and quality in the finished product.
Natural Rhythms of Australia is a collaboration between generative artificial intelligence and human artists at VANDAL, who have used AI as a powerful tool to augment their artistic practice.
The cool, clear air is punctuated by the vibrant yellow of the Acacia flower, blooming en masse. Clear, salty seas illuminate the abundant life in the coral reefs, while at altitude, snow gently dusts the land. The shorter days take on a new urgency, to forage and feed; fortifying for long, cold nights. These times are hard, but will eventually give way to a warmer dawn.
The intensity of heat gives way to a calmer time, and a fresh harvest of fruits, berries and roots emerge. Butterflies and birds flit between flowers, simultaneously drinking the nectar and delivering the pollen which will, in time, reignite a new cycle of emergence. This peaceful time is illuminated by beautiful, golden sunsets, slowly retracting as the long, cool nights draw in.
The hottest part of the year brings with it extremes. Scorched land cracks open in desperation for the deluge of rain that storms will eventually, inevitably bring. These storms churn the rivers and creeks, igniting feeding frenzies among hungry fish. This is a harsh, unsettled time. Many won’t survive. But with endings, come new beginnings.
Cold winds make way for warming air, while gentle rains cleanse and replenish the land. The buds of the Waratah redden, and before long they bloom, heavy with nectar. This long-awaited nourishment gives way to a cacophony of life; new, flourishing; and old, reawakening. All emerging to celebrate this time of plenty.