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Steve DiPaola: Pareidolia

See an artisting rendering of Surrey Arts Centre through the eyes of a machine.

Steve DiPaola’s generative art uses pattern recognition software to reconfigure the world around us. His flowing, organic compositions call to mind a dreamlike reality. The title Pareidolia refers to the detection of patterns in an environment where there are none.

Mimicking this process, DiPaola blends found images and patterns from the natural environment and art history with recorded footage of people and places. The resulting imagery bears an uncanny resemblance to our own world, but as seen through a kaleidoscopic lens where everything is composed of digital matter. DiPaola’s artworks entrance the eye, while exposing us—for better or worse—to how a machine sees the world.

A site-specific project, Pareidolia features footage of Surrey Arts Centre and several project participants. DiPaola’s software does not discriminate between the architecture of the building and the people present within it, generating an endless variety of patterns that conjoin them and create a space in which each appears to be absorbed into the other.

In this way, DiPaola’s software draws attention to the ways in which algorithmic technology is shaping the way we see the world and our own sense of identity. Pareidolia reflects the reality of modern life: just as much as algorithmic software provides us with new ways of seeing and living, so too does it implicate us in a vast, unseen network of data.

About the Artist

Steve DiPaola, working as a scientist and artist, uses computational models of creativity, cognition, and artificial intelligence to create generative and interactive art installations. He explores the uneasy interplay between what it means for humans to perceive and emote in a modern computer era. DiPaola’s art has been exhibited internationally at the A.I.R. and Tibor de Nagy galleries in NYC, Tenderpixel and LimeWharf galleries in London, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the MIT Museum, Cambridge University’s King’s Art Centre, and the Smithsonian.

Image credit: Steve DiPaola, still from Pareidolia, 2019, 2-channel digital video. Photo courtesy of artist.