MIT researchers have created software that introduces horror movie-style spectral figures into photographs to turn regular snaps into haunting, poetic explorations of absence.
Have you ever seen those weird light blobs that sometimes appear in photos?
Well, rather than putting it down to a trick of the light, paranormal investigators point out such occurrences as proof of ghosts.
Now Matt Groh and Ziv Epstein have devised a phantasmagoric artificial intelligence called “AI Spirits”, a software that conjures spectres into photographs.
Both Groh and Epstein were part of The Deep Angel Project, an algorithm that digitally erases objects from pictures. However, in their new project, they decided to invert the process.
Instead of making people disappear, AI Spirits maps photographs with missing people and inserts these into other pictures.
“By training a generative deep neural network on thousands of images people provided all over the world, we conjure phantasms into being,” says their official website.
“In doing so, we commemorate those missing via algorithmic omission.”
As creepy as the project might sound, their intention is not to scare, but to create a meditation on absence.
AI Spirits is a homage to those who, for whatever reason, are not physically present in our lives anymore, but still all around us.
“In the world all around us, many people have lived full lives and passed on. Yet they are still with us emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually,” Epstein told Fast Company.
“In the business of daily life, we can forget them and only see the empty scenes all around us. AI Spirits is a visualisation of saudade: the presence of absence.”
If you are interested in participating in the project, you can send your image to firstname.lastname@example.org.