First edition / 2021
Payal Arya and Alexander Dimitrios Papadopoulos

Engulfed with noise, the machine hallucinates, remembering the heat of the burning city. 

Oops, something went wrong.


The project of Payal Arya and Alexander Dimitrios Papadopoulos realized for the first edition of the online artist residency Vacant Zone combines the technological and human components to create an associative experience of image and sound driven by a single algorithm.

This concept led them to a vacant zone, a seashore, a place where data rests for a bit before vanishing into the same neverending existence, within a fast, poetic, chaotic experience through a digital shell that contains a hybrid form of memory.

After a phase of dialogue and reciprocal research work the two artists in residence, in collaboration with a technical team, have developed an original code able to select different multimedia materials from a constantly updated database (consisting of video images, photographs, audio) and to start a process of composition of these materials, in the same way as in editing and post-production. Starting from some variables, operating with a component of partial randomness and unpredictability, the algorithm intervenes on the materials. The result is a balance between the artistic intention and the autonomy of the server that processes and executes the algorithm. At each opening of the website or each click on the “generate” button, the server produces a new video, different from any other even if generated from the same elements.

Despite the extreme variety of the produced videos, one constant remains, it is a voice-over telling a story, or rather a vision, whose substance is contained in the general title of the project Engulfed in white noise, the machine hallucinates, remembering the heat of the burning city.
It is precisely from a few words that the two artists proceeded to select the materials to be included in the database – a real archive, which will be progressively updated through time.
The algorithm was inspired by the original artistic idea of a continuous tide: so if we imagine it like a diagram, the consequent shape would be an undulating form, as if it was an alternation of waves.

The experience of the audience watching the videos and being able to generate new ones from the server is not meant to be only technical; technology in this case is also instrumental to a real experience made of sensations and emotions.