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Mystery & Drama

Art Genome, Is There Such a Thing? Art.sy

John William Waterhouse: Pandora, 1896

John William Waterhouse: Pandora, 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AO Scott is away sailing somewhere or something, so David Carr asked Melena Ryzik to join him on this video. It’s all about art.sy, a web site that brings to the world of art what Pandora brought to the world of music—an algorithm built by art historians who are indexing and categorizing art for the purpose of recommending art that you the reader might like. Art.sy has partnered with 275 galleries and 50 museums, digitizing about 20,000 images into what they are calling the “Art Genome Project.  In Pandora, “focus traits” of music such as syncopation, tonality and harmonies are just one element of a system of categorization that can serve to show you the way to music you haven’t experienced but might like. Art.sy talks more about characteristics of art works in terms of the DNA of art, about the genome of art, the multitudes of traits that comprise the art “organism”.  Art.sy employs 800 different genes of art to add deep analytics to the art world. So, as they say on this video, who needs a museum? But, as Melena points out, people who like art usually go to museums to see it rather than sitting around in their home, studying art on their laptop. I recommend this Sweet Spot video to open the door to this topic:  http://nyti.ms/1swnVpg . Sweet Spot is relentlessly interesting and informative series of videos.

 

2 Comments

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  1. Hmm… Unlike music the visual arts (aside from abstract art and sculpture) include objective subject matter. This means that the possible components (its “genres”) extend to infinity. For example, the picture attached to this article (Waterhouse’s Pandora) has “genes” for forest, streams, brass work, furniture with clawed feet, feminine wiles, caucasian brunette beauty, weaving, lacework, reeds, fashion, obscurity, hope, fear, mythology, good and evil, human suffering, hair style, lack of shoes… the extensions of what a picture contains include all objects and combinations of objects real and unreal and all ideas and images that can attach to those objects. The genomes of living things are enormously complex but finite, the “gnomes” of paintings are infinite.

    1. Hi Dick – My understanding of Art.sy is that the genes that are identified in the art works included in the project represent characteristics that are present or not present in all of the works and they provide a means of comparison. So, while the number of genomes of paintings is infinite, art.sy boils these down to a manageable number (800 apparently) that are the basis of comparison. Is that like the human DNA analysis that only concerns itself with a few markers? Search me.
      Larry

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