Project Details

Project Date : 2020
Role: Design & Research

Collaborators: Hyunwoo Park
Tools : Tensorflow, Arduino, MaxMSP


Viewporter is an interactive installation that displays a computer-generated video of a city. Viewers can rotate the screen attached to a device that resembles a telescope to accelerate the playback speed of the video. In this project, the deep learning technique with images capturing the Seoul skyline was used to train and generate the artificial city skyline. As one of the most developed metropolitan cities, Seoul has been under continuous development and construction of high-rise buildings over the past decades. While the image of the skyscraper-packed skyline has been portrayed by the mainstream media to symbolize the utopian dream of the city, the lives of the residents with mundane duties have been far-fetched from the attractive image promoted through the propagandistic videos on the media. Viewporter uses the analogy of a telescope in tourist attractions to emphasize the distance between the idealized and the real and have viewers re-think the illusion and fantasy promoted by the images of urban development programs.

Showcased in Siggraph Asia 2020 Art Gallery virtually
To be Published in KOSMA

I was inspired by how visitors to tourist sights enjoy watching the scenic view through the telescope installed in an observatory. While the site may be an ordinary place to the residents, the setting of an observatory with a telescope makes viewing of that sight a special sightseeing event to the visiting tourists. It appeared to me that a telescope transformed our experience of a wandering navigation by foot to observing the spectacle by eye. In short, the telescope removes all the details of the inhabited space and such abstraction from a distance ends up depicting the space to an idealized scenery. Through this project, I compared the AI image generation technology to a telescope. I thought that the way AI(Artificial Intelligence) abstracts out the detail from a distance functions very similar to the telescope. While individual data may be captured within a context, such context gets lost when such data gets analyzed through an AI. Instead, the collective of data can be idealized through intention of the programmer. I wish that my project to be an opportunity for visitors to think about the philosophical assumptions behind the technology of AI. We often consider AI as a technology to extend human cognitions. While AI often functions through abstraction, such abstraction is only one way of reasoning.