Behind the Scenes with Aurèce Vettier #1

"By discovering nature, you discover yourself."  Maxime Lagacé

 

In the beautiful ivory light of their Parisian studio, Aurèce Vettier show us some of their studies for their project Potential Herbariums.

 

 [Fig.1] A Study for the Potential Herbariums. Image Credit: Aurèce Vettier

 

 [Fig.2] Working on the data set for Potential Herbariums of which "A Rebours" is a special project designed for Cueva Gallery. Image Credit: Aurèce Vettier

 

When Aurèce Vettier started working on Potential Herbariums they gathered many images from existing herbariums worldwide, but also created their own, by collecting thousands of plants and flowers in the French mountains of Savoie.

It was quite astonishing to see that the imaginary plants generated by their GANs, that they used as raw material, were almost following an anti-Darwinian path. Indeed, they found circular or cut stems, immense leaves with only fragile hooks, and more generally, vegetal forms that would not have been able to survive in our known nature.

This discovery was quite frightening, as this looked like what plants would transform into, if they had chosen to give up on us, and silently leave our world.

 

 [Fig.3] Raw material. Image Credit: Aurèce Vettier

 

About this, the artist duo say: "Potential Herbariums is an array of works leveraging both artificial intelligence and physical herbariums, where botanic treasures are collected, dried and precisely identified.

Using the generative potential of GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks) as a raw material, we explore new forms and question the fate of nature in our contemporary age.

Intense craftsmanship is here invoked, not only to create our very own « dataset » of millions of herbariums, but also to reach high image resolutions -a significant mathematical fight and to avoid pixellation and artefacts usually seen in the outcome of GANs."