Philipp Schmitt is an artist, designer, and researcher based in Brooklyn, NY, USA. His practice engages with the philosophical, poetic, and political dimensions of computation. His current work addresses notions of opacity in artificial intelligence research and its history.
Philipp’s work has been exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the MAK Vienna, Science Gallery Dublin, Link Art Center, and the Triennale di Milano, and is part of the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Ars Electronica Center and the MoMA Art Library. His artist book, Computed Curation, was published by Bromide Publishing House in 2018.
Currently, Philipp is a Berggruen Institute Junior Artist Fellow with Yann LeCun at NYU Center for Data Science, and a metaLAB Affiliate at Harvard University.
Philipp Schmitt's 'Declassifier' uses a computer vision algorithm trained on COCO, an image dataset developed by Microsoft in 2014. In the work, photographs from Schmitt’s series 'Tunnel Vision' are tested and overlaid with the images used to generate the algorithm in the first place.
By doing so, Schmitt exposes the myth of magically intelligent machines; the visual data by which machine learning algorithms learn to make predictions is hardly ever shown, let alone credited.
When a computer vision algorithm recognises something in a picture, it soberly frames what it ‘sees’ in confetti-coloured rectangles, digital hues that contrast with the everyday shapes and colours that we see in a space with plain eye. Each neatly labelled with a single category, these annotations highlight answers but don't give explanations. To the uninitiated, it seems almost magical, or at least akin with some sort of intelligence.