A BRAIN THE SIZE OF A PLANET
Marvin the Paranoid Android is a bored and clinically-depressed robot with a declared "brain the size of a planet," which he rarely gets to use. It’s never made clear whether said brain is actually the Earth—as some H2G2 fans have come to suspect, given that in the story, our world is actually a supercomputer of such complexity that organic life itself is part of its operating matrix. If the claim is true, then Marvin’s mind is surely an early conceptualization of modern AI technology—a product of heuristic programming and deep learning that can absorb the internet, and thus the history of information to think and create on its own. Nina Sarnelle takes the machine’s catch-phrase as its title and the overall theme of 3hd 2022: “Life, the Universe, and Everything” to visualize the all-encompassing nature of this year’s festival.
Launching via 3hdTV and coinciding with today’s opening at Tempelhof’s soft power on October 20, the artist and musician’s “A Brain the Size of a Planet” video is a psychedelic journey into the multiverse. It’s made using the VQGAN + CLIP neural network to generate sequential images from text prompts emerging in an ever-morphing tableaux of image transitions that cycle through a galaxy of form and abstraction. Using S. A. Mayer’s main 3hd 2022 poster as a starting point, this piece was also used to generate stills and videos for web developer and designer Jon Lucas, which applied to the overall identity of this year’s festival. Much like the unknowable answer to the Ultimate Question, the representations of these pictures are never fully discernible.
The accompanying audio comes from a yet-to-be-released track, produced by Sarnelle as Mouth Noise and called “Move Fast Break Things.” An offbeat and outlandish song, it’s named after Facebook’s infamous slogan concerning startup culture’s impulse toward reckless innovation, and features sliced samples of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on trial before US Congress—perhaps one of the most unclear and evasive performances of all.