Cypress trees, a beginning | Anna Ridler & Caroline Sinders

2 min read

How can AI help us to face the climate crisis and other entwined challenges? 

This machine-learning-generated moving image piece gives insights into the complexity of data sets and raises questions about deforestation and the politics of climate change, memory and loss. Anna Ridler and Caroline Sinders created a special dataset of the Bald Cypress on the gulf coast of the USA, where both have family ties. These trees, which can live thousands of years, are currently considered to be “threatened” by climate change.

This work is the winner of the AI Lab Lighthouse Residency for 2020. The AI Lab project offered four residencies to artists working in the field of artificial intelligence or are dealing with its impact on our society. The 2020 residency has been designed and developed by Ars Electronica and the Experiential AI research group at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, part of the University of Edinburgh. The residency theme was Entanglements – fair, moral and transparent AI. 

Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher. She has exhibited at institutions such as the V&A Museum, Ars Electronica, HeK Basel and the Barbican Centre, and has degrees from the Royal College of Art, Oxford University and University of Arts London. She was a 2018 EMAP fellow and was listed by Artnet as one of nine “pioneering artists” exploring AI’s creative potential. She is interested in working with collections of information, particularly self-generated data sets, to create new and unusual narratives in a variety of mediums, and what happens when things cannot fit into discrete categories. She is currently interested in the intersection of machine learning and nature and what we can learn from history.

Caroline Sinders is a machine learning researcher and artist obsessed with language, culture and images. Her work explores the intersections between natural language processing, artificial intelligence, abuse, online harassment and politics in digital, conversational spaces. Her work has been featured in the V&A Museum, MoMA Ps1, the Modern Art Museum of Bologna, Ars Electronica, as well as others. She is the founder of Convocation Design + Research, an agency focusing on the use of machine learning and design for public good.