Exhibition | Preternatural & Data Lates



Inspace City Screen hosted two out of hours exhibitions projected onto Potterrow as part of the Fringe Festival from 2–26 August 2019.

  1. Preternatural, curated by Drew Hemment, presented art on and of machine learning by Jake Elwes.
  2. Data Lates was a collection of works by major creative practitioners based in the city such as Brightside Studios and Ray Interactive as well as work created by students and academics working at Edinburgh University, including Asad Khan, Particia Wu Wu, Dara Etefaghi and Pip Thornton.

Images of the event available on Flickr.


A new work commissioned by Experiential AI, Zizi,receives its world premiere during August alongside an adaptation for Edinburgh of Closed Loop. Each work, in different ways, explores how machine reasoning and vision exist outside of nature, and exceed what is natural or regular.

Jake Elwes is an artist who works with machine learning algorithms. He is one of a number of artists who are today exploring the aesthetics of machine learning. Works in this tradition often reveal and manifest distortions in the ways algorithms interpret the world.

Zizi is a procession of faces of drag artists in constant transition, morphing and changing shape. These faces are generated by a duel between two ‘adversarial’ networks competing with one another. Their gender, sexuality, whether they are real or artificial, is all uncertain. Here, the permanent becoming of a neural network represents the fluidity, ambiguity and transition of drag artists.

In Closed Loop, two AI models are again in dialogue. One describes in words the images generated by the other, which, in turn, generates another image to represent those words. Departures occur as the algorithms see new things in the nuance of the words and image. Closed Loop illustrates the difficulty AI systems have in handling ambiguity, and the way they fit phenomena into categories.

Preternatural is curated by Drew Hemment as a part of Experiential AI at Edinburgh Futures Institute. It is presented at a newly launched site, Inspace City Screen, and is a part of Data Play by Design Informatics. To read Drew Hemment’s curatorial statement for the exhibition visit the EIF web pages.


Brightside Studios: A Human Connection– Data capture from dancers is brought to life, inspired by Bright Side Studios’ collaborations with award-winning contemporary dance choreographer, the late Janis Claxton.

Asad Khan: UR Black– Using LiDAR and SAR from NASA and ESA, Khan’s work animates extra-terrestrial terrain and a dormant volcano through visualisation and simulation.

Tef Dara: Inersis explores the space between game worlds and composition, with players exploring a kaleidoscopic procedurally generated universe.

Patricia Wu Wu: The Dust [n]Forcer uses a swarm of data dust created from a performer wearing a 3d printed face mask and tinfoil fashion suit to question our relations to technology.

Pip Thornton and Ray Interactive: Newspeak (2019) visualises the words of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four as if they were commodities on a stock exchange.

Ray Interactive: Interplay A mini series of generative design experiments; real-time graphics which can be instantly altered and influenced by onlookers via www.ray.scot