Egor Kraft


Chinese Ink is a generative installation in which electronic ink screens are displaying real-time streamed outputs of an AI system, trained on images of inkblots and set to generate visually similar images, producing dozens of samples per second.

The AI system is a generative-adversarial artificial neural network that is trained on a dataset of nearly a thousand blots of ink splashed onto watercolour paper. The installation calls on the traditional chinese ink wash painting technique. However, it is not directed towards stylistic connotations or iconography of Eastern cultural tradition, in focus instead is the ink itself, its material qualities and ontology. With this project Egor Kraft questions the ways in which the chinese ink technique continue to survive through the stages of ever-expanding industrialization. The work is a visual meditation on tracing the links between traditions, technologies, time, and techno- industrial processes leading to automation and new tools bringing forth new emerging aesthetics, as they derive from formerly dominating visual languages.

Interdisciplinary artist and researcher Egor Kraft (1986, Leningrad) lives and works in Moscow & Berlin. As an artistic method he looks for ways to produce work which sit on the boundaries between realities and their virtual misrepresentations. He participated in the 5th Moscow Biennial for Young Art, Ural Industrial Biennial, Ars Electronica, WRO Biennial, Impakt Festival, Open Codes at ZKM, and other museum and solo shows internationally. He was several times nominated for Lumen Prize (UK), Kandinsky Prize (RU), Pulsar Prize (FR), Inno- vation Prize and Kuryokhin Prize. In 2017 he was included in the New East 100, a list of people, places and projects shaping our world today by Calvert Journal (UK). In 2019 he became STARTS residencies research fellow at University of Southampton and Garage Museum Art & Technology Grant recipient.

PHOTO CAPTION: Egor Kraft, Chinese Ink, 2019. Electronic ink screens, neural network, custom produced dataset, custom designed liquid cooled server; custom e-ink video playback software driver.

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