Huda Al Mazroua ⋅
Currently, we are at a pivotal period in history. Facing a global pandemic, living through times like never known before. Since the start of 2020, we have been flooded with bad news and sad stories regarding COVID-19. We need to be positive in these difficult times by focusing on the number of newborns, newly pregnant women, fighters and survivors to create a portrait of COVID-19.
The daily statistics during the period when this research is being conducted suggest that about 116million babies will be born in the shadow of COVID-19, while there are approximately 12 million deaths around the world. It is important to illuminate a positive narrative about what is hidden beyond COVID-19, and through the medium of art, we can feel in a way that we cannot feel through statistics and numbers.
In quarantine, we have no choice but to meditate. This means emptying a mind filled with thoughts in order to rethink deeply about ourselves. It is a vital goal to experience mindfulness objectively. Although art is not an essential medication, it is nevertheless essential for human beings. Throughout history, artists have mirrored, discussed, challenged and analysed the world in which they live and the times which they are going through.
As an artist, I am curious about how I can respond to this pandemic in a way that might change my artistic practices, particularly after launching my solo virtual show and website. I want to create an experience in machine learning as a way of using artificial intelligence. In this work, I want to draw a positive narrative of the pandemic.
My work is a kind of portrait drawn by software named RunwayML. Collecting medical imaging of newborns and the newly pregnant to create a portrait of COVID-19. It is going to focus on the population growth from millions of pictures, the medical images of pregnant women and newborns in 2020. I shall try to collect data from the World Health Organization and UNICEF in as much accurate detail as I can in order to move the viewer to a distant and abstract place. I want to convey the beauty of our body through medical imaging to inspire viewers to think critically about the hidden face of Corona.
I have been exploring these ideas primarily with my own medical images made during my pregnancy. I have also collected images from friends and relatives to make ‘creationism’ part of an ongoing collection of works seeking to express the beauty of created fetuses. It will be a series of portraits of unborn human babies made through medical imaging to respond to the process of human creation. link
Huda Al Mazroua ⋅
For many decades, most scientists have used algorithms for creating art, commonly regarded as ‘algorithmic art’. By this means, scientists can write an algorithm while keeping the output in mind, with all the specifications built into the same algorithm. The first-ever attempt to create art in this way was made by Harold Cohen (1928-2016), a British artist who developed the AARON program. The program generated multiple artistic images which Cohen had not fed into it. Instead, Cohen used various body elements and objects to teach the association between them. In brief, art was developed by human beings as a way of understanding who they are and the multiple components present in their societies. Using AI in art enables artists to express the inexpressible and communicate beyond bare words.
With the increasing technological innovations, artists are left with no choice but to tap into the opportunities and take full advantage. In most cases, artificial intelligence machines may be applied when devices exhibit similar thoughts as the human mind through problem-solving and learning. There is a need to confirm that AI affects creativity. Simulating human intelligence in computer machines are programmed to think the same way as humans, not for mimic their actions, and affect their natural thinking capacities, but to encourage them to break boundaries for more generative ideas.
One of the contemporary pioneers of machine learning is Memo Akten (2018). He is using machine learning to reflect humanity and to explore how human makes sense of the world. He represented images that have essential concepts in human life, downloaded from Flickr tagged with some words almost contained everything like: world, the universe, mountains, flowers, art, life, love, god, etc. Then he programmed the machine to “imagine” new images based on all those images to create a new world of landscapes, objects and ideas that have never seen before. The result is a breathtaking journey to train a machine how to imagine concepts core to our existence.
Another innovator artist is Sofia Crespo; She is interested in biology-inspired technologies. She is concerned with the dynamic change in the role of the artists working with machine learning techniques and focusing on exploring how organic life uses artificial mechanisms to simulate itself and evolve. It is to imply the idea that technologies are a biased product of organic life to create them and not a completely separated object.
Refik Anadol is a lecturer, researcher, media artist and director known for transforming architectural spaces into giant canvases for live media arts. He creates site-specific public art and data sculptures, often paired with live audio/visual performances and immersive installations. His body of work addresses the challenges and possibilities of ubiquitous computing and what it means to be a human in the age of machine intelligence. Anadol is intrigued by how the digital age and machine intelligence allow for a new aesthetic technique to create enriched immersive environments that offer a dynamic perception of space.
Matt Woodham works across disciplines in visual neuroscience at The University of Nottingham. Currently, He is working with code and electronic circuits to create experimental video and music, web design and interactive audio-visual installations. Through his research, he has evolved into a practice in broader interdisciplinary on the brain and its complex system. His opinion about the interdisciplinary space between art, science and technology that it can provide the possibilities for inducing both wonderment and socio-cultural advancement. Using science as the ground, technology as the tool and art as the expression.
Huda Al Mazroua ⋅
In reality, all we see is light, but we forget the light and only see the matter which reflects it. Anything in a visual medium is a light hitting a surface and then getting into our eyes. We require light for vision, but it is also essential for a wide range of invisible functions, for example, breathing, growth, balance, psychological health and working effectively. It is a crucial component for relaying information about objects to a set of invisible waves in the brain’s centre.
The other thing I found is that light is a very connecting medium. Once people look at the light, they are subliminally mesmerised. Around the light, people gather, be together and communicate. I aim to experiment with the question: Are the feelings that encourage us to gather a sign of our individuality or is it our human need to gather which is unconsciously predefined by our society?
It is my opportunity to let the public see through a different lens. I want people to forget about reality and about daily routines so that I can transport them to diverse psychological spaces. They will panic when they notice their everyday tools making a new world. It is to think about the routine of daily life as a way of remembering. I believe our daily stuff still gives us creative tools. It is motivating my memory to produce new ideas which I have never tried.
Light, for me, is the medium through which to try to understand what reminiscence is. I am using light as a new provocative language to highlight some invisible and silent disease but not doom and gloom, I want it to be a positive narrative. In the innocence of light, I found that it illuminates my mystery. It is almost my palette, so that is why I experiment with lots of different light technologies rather than using technology just for the sake of it. I do not want the light to be gimmicky, it needs to be beautiful and kind of innately ephemeral and transient.
I often find myself using light and sound to augment space and to create a kind of fabricated reality. My aim is to play with new technology. I am enthusiastic about creating artworks in digital and interactive forms: light sculpture, projection, hologram, film and sound. I want to work with interface devices: projector, screen or my interactive canvas. Light attracts innately; every colour makes different space in a different way of influencing us.h
Space is always one of the key components of the work and the container of the light. My work actually changes how I see the space, it is kind of mapping it to create a different type of environment. Each work is built to fit a specific space and it is up there for a while and then it is gone. This is like the idea of it being a very temporary work, a kind of quick gesture filling and manipulating the environment.
On the other hand, the absence of light makes you more attentive to everything else: it leads you to pay more attention to details which cannot be seen in the light; sound, room temperature, texture and atmosphere, but the colour is gone! If there is no light, there is no colour. In a dark room, we use our memory and imagination to create scenes which could make us feel safer. We will focus on the room atmosphere and our internal feeling, but the colours have gone! During sleep, we only see the darkness, and some sketches of stories; sometimes these are realistic dreams, but others are abstracted ones!
Light speed also manipulates my ideas, different distances make it different work. I show on my balcony, but the scene is different from the other side of the river. I was thinking how to decrease the speed of the light by 100% and more to experiment with the difference. I found that the speed of light can be slowed slightly if it travels through materials such as water or frosted glass. Photons, the particles of light, are travelling unimpeded through free space, it is the interaction between art and science. The works which I make are often set between these disciplines, art and science, to define what light means physically in my practice.
Huda Al Mazroua ⋅
Human memories are recorded mostly through photograph, which often becomes a form of art, Recently, artist generates new kind of art which using medical imaging to produce art. Science aims to make the matter more meaningful within human eye cognition. Therefore, through medical imaging, artist can illustrate the unseen scenes. In that breadth, new ideas will enhance the motivation to break the boundaries of the artistic phenomenon concerning the human body. Interpreting medical scenes in a language that the public can understand will fit in the scope of art, which is more relatable to them. This will also change how ordinary people interact with medicine.
I think that analysing medical imaging is very important not just for a medical reason but for looking at the system of the human body as an artist. When I first saw my skeleton three months ago, I wondered how it could be a resource of me as an artist, and now as a researcher. My own x-rays are my source material which has a shadowy and mysterious beauty, not limited by their straightforward, back-to-front point of view, but through my identity as a Saudi woman. I do not want it to be personal, I want to draw my DNA as I saw it in a more revealing perspective. The perception of distinction leads me to characterise my artwork within uniqueness goals.
The idea is to use higher-resolution medical imaging for creating art through the identity of a Saudi woman. Some example of these technologies is artificial intelligence technology (magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI), augmented and virtual reality (Open Sight: an AR system), three-dimensional printing, cinematic rending and digital twinning. I am fascinated by the marvellous medical imaging of bones, blood cells, body temperature and brain waves. I am motivated not only by their inherent beauty but also by the theory of the collaboration between art and science being the third culture.
Art and medicine are both human attempts to understand and describe the human phenomenon. They both seek to promote and maintain health and well-being. A clinician works directly with patients in a healthcare setting. An artist is a kind of psychotherapist who deals with mental health, depression, stress and chronic pain. My interest in science is about transforming data into emotion. I imagine the space as I go through my body to explore what is invisible in it, what is my fears, my doubts and my motives.
It is trying to grasp the logic of science to build the space in an emotional and integrated manner. I want to create a mutual dialogue with the public to examine how to receive contemporary art. This means we are going to collaborate, and they might become a co-author with me. What they see is entirely up to them, I will not force them to understand me. I will listen to them; I will try to understand them, and through their feedback, I will find a new idea of what they want to know about their body. It is a kind of series following each other, and it is endless.
We are sharing a lot of health information at once, but I will take one thing that speaks to us and blow it up. I want to make something complex seem understandable for the public. To translate a medical scan or a radiation image into something that the public can hear and can touch. My interpretations of medical images might impact my own creative responses to absorb contemporary art within my identity. I find myself in the art of science and medicine, and I find the possibilities endless, and the overlapping between art and science can make both better.
I am trying to integrate art and medicine to create art using the human body and medical phenomena; art and science are very similar in that they are both extremely creative fields which explore new ideas and break boundaries. Art and science have the same motivation. They are a human effort to describe the world around us and how we experience it. There is a relationship between art and science which runs through the length of human history, they inform one another.
I have been exploring these ideas primarily with my own medical images made during my pregnancy. I have also collected images from friends and relatives to make ‘creationism’ part of an ongoing collection of works seeking to express the beauty of created foetuses. It will be a series of portraits of unborn human babies made through medical imaging to respond to the process of human creation. The result of a desire to expand the theory of creation from nothingness by engaging AI as a contemporary artistic practice. I shall collect medical images of the process of creation in nature to move the viewers to a distant and abstract place and enable them to interact directly with the work.
Huda Al Mazroua ⋅
I started to question time perception and our cumulated experience which is what forms our identity. My initial research centred around the wonder of everyday phenomena as seen through the artist’s perspective, but now it is inviting me to re-evaluate my perception of the beauty. I have noticed all around me how rich life is, even in my skin, my eyes and my back X-ray. They all lead me to think more deeply about my body.
The human body became the medium for me to create a language with people. It is relevant to the way that we see life. I do believe that changing the world means changing the way we understand our selves. Through human science, we as artists thrive on seeing deeply, on expanding perception and attention.
I am exploring the notion of what medicine considers truth depends on how we look at it. We all have different phobia. Each person has his own fears of different types of disease, depending on his family tree. I ended up with the idea that some diseases have memory, they are genetic, and they save their information in our DNA. The body is the indicator of our health level whereas the brain is the essential software. The brain controls all the functions of the body, it interprets information from the outside world, and embodies the essence of the soul and mind. It contains all the data which programmes our thoughts, memories, speech, movements and balance.
I am very interested in how our brain works because it defines our identity and our memories. We come in, born with a gene containing our DNA, and before we die, we forget who we are. Between that remembrance and forgetfulness, I found the meaning of our existence.
I am always trying to get to the essence of what it is to be aware as a human being. I noticed that the person next to me doesn’t see my special memories which fly in the air of the room which we are sharing. The data which has been written in our mind is diverse; you can remember your Italian friend’s name with an Italian accent not with your mother-language’s accent! Now the first question coming into my head in English, not Arabic, is: by which language do we remember?
‘Memory Matter’ is my theme which highlights the aspects of losing memory perception rather than focusing on the negative aspects of Alzheimer’s. I want to show the meaning of our worthiness. I research how our brain works, the truth is that there is too much to it, it is endlessness. But the main thing I wonder is, if there is no memory, there is nothing, memory keeps our heart remembering how to beat, which is the last stage of Alzheimer’s before death … Amnesia!
Huda Al Mazroua ⋅
The beginning …
The beginning of my journey through my identity was wanting to define the cultural roots of being a citizen within a geographical boundary. Then I became fascinated by the process of having an individual identity and the tools for showing our similarities rather than our differences. It was the starting point, but it ended up with an abstract way of answering my question: where is the artist’s identity from his practice? I was feeling isolated in my practice so I am trying to find a common language which I can use to communicate with the whole world. I do believe that change is good, especially when it follows research and brings convenience.
Focusing on my identity might produce fears of losing my character in a diverse modern world. I try to have a message for the world: all colours and all nations around the earth. It is a kind of conversation which I can communicate anywhere to rethink lonely but together.
The information in the human mind, which is what makes us different, is different. Memories help to make us who we are. I carry out investigations into the concept of identity by means of remembering our memories. I notice that it centres around the wonder of our brain as seen through amnesic perspectives. This process invited me to evaluate my perception of its beauty.
My father has received a shocking diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. He has lost the ability sometimes to recognise me, and that is so sad to recall. He was a head judge of the court and now he is never able even to remember his daily routine. No words can describe how he sees the world in a very different way to that of an adult, to me. I put myself in his shoes: I felt how important it is to stand with him and I decided to put all of my efforts into understanding his feelings. I feel compelled to embrace this idea in my artwork and hopefully raise awareness about our memory which is our identity resource.
When I started my MA, my father saw my work and he said: ‘I did not send you to Britain to play with materials, I want you to be a doctor’. In reality, I am an artist who wants to do a PhD in art, but I am not a doctor. I cannot be a doctor, but I can help doctors by raising awareness about health and disease in our society. I shall try to vaccinate the public with some unimaginable medical pictures about their bodies so they can understand the disease deeply not only when they are stricken with it but before that. Not only about the negative aspect of it but also about highlighting the beauty of our body and rethinking our health care.
My dad is not the only one. There are about 35 million people around the world living with some kind of dementia, and by 2030 the number might double to 70 million. Dementia scares us, the confused faces and shaky hands of people who we love, the increased number of people who get it, who is next? We are going into denial: ‘it is never going to happen to me’. Or we are trying to prevent dementia by doing everything right so that it will not get us. My concern is to find my way to being prepared for getting Alzheimer’s one day. What can I do more than writing emergency phone numbers on yellow stickers, writing down my allergies, my blood type and so on? I want to activate my receptors of losing my memory over the years, but in contrast, how can I imagine having a long-lasting memory? How if I cannot forget my bad experiences?
In high school, medicine was my passion, but when I had to choose between art and science; I chose art, and now I choose science to be my research approach to art to take on new challenges and question preconceptions. I am interested in the fascinating relationship between different disciplines to experiment with the connections and to explore new inspiration resources. The new methodology of contemporary art makes me feel more comfortable talking about science to contribute to the evolution of an understanding of what the new global art is and how it can make a contribution to society. It might grow a public awareness of developments and innovations in fields of human biology. It is an area which both artists and scientists are most interested in pursuing collectively and creatively towards developing new visions for the future. I am working in parallel with the future of art to show what we have in the new global art.
Huda Al Mazroua ⋅
I was born in Mecca which I love. Mecca; this city where I was brought up and nurtured, where I played, laughed and smiled. My love for Mecca has overwhelmed me with longing. Those in love with Mecca would not be blamed. I am always speechless when I see the Ka’ba, that grand, black, stone, cube-shaped building which is so big and still so accessible, which stands at the centre of the city, tucked safely between all the tall buildings surrounding the holy mosque: ‘Al-haram’. The Ka’ba is the focus for the followers of Islam, a quarter of the world’s population, and they turn to face it in prayer five times a day all around the world.
The golden calligraphy written on black is totally striking and it inspired me to paint it in a creative and contemporary way. Seeing Muslims of all colours and ages walking around it in such harmony is just an unforgettable sight. Seeing them performing a shared rite in the spirit of unity and brotherhood is the true picture of being together, helping each other, and knowing that all are equal, no matter where you are from.
What a heartbreaking sight, to see all these thousands of Muslims in their humility, lost in their worship. Mecca is a cosmopolitan city for all Muslims. After you have been there once, you cannot resist the urge to keep on going back; the craving to go back is so intense because a part of you is left there and you have no choice but to go back.
Unit 1 Show:
The Ka’ba fascinates me; it the influence of my work, every touch in my work has a reference to it, every single thing is there for a reason. I am inspired by the Ka’ba to create a new and unique form of art. My ideas are highlighted in the following points:
–The 23 Synectic triggers mechanisms: I have been inspired by the Ka’ba and I have tried to discover some creative forms in a contemporary context to create art. I use them as tools through a process of imaginative and creative thinking such as subtract, repeat, combine, add, transfer, empathize, animate, superimpose, change scale, fragment, distort, symbolize.
-The aKinetic energy: The endless circumambulation of people around the Ka’ba influenced me to represent it in a kinetic artwork using a motor to revolve the workaround itself constantly.
–Inside out: I reversed the reality: the outside of the Ka’ba becomes the inside of my artwork so the audience can walk in not around, being inside not outside. I attempt to represent the complexities of human perspectives to reverse the space and to ask a question of where we are standing in relation to the artwork and to religion.
-Gilding with blackness: The black in my work is the absence of colour: there is no God but Allah; it is associated with power, strength, authority, elegance, formality and it is also mystery and fear. The gold is the warmth, brightness and cheerfulness, or it is sombre and traditional and is also associated with illumination, love, compassion, courage, passion, magic and wisdom. Gold is a precious metal which is associated with wealth, grandeur and prosperity, as well as sparkle, glitz and glamour.
–Light and shadow: There is a light inside the gold cube hanging from the ceiling to throw its shadows onto the floor as a sample of the light coming from our souls to illuminate our path. I chose a corner of darkness to highlight the centre to attract viewers to walk through the work and to read it from different perspectives.
–Arabic calligraphy: The whole design is taken from the Ka’ba and had some religious meaning before it was addressed by the synectic trigger mechanisms. It becomes without meaning but it still has its aesthetics such as motion, flexibility, power and direction.
–Square and circle: I have tried to circle the square by rotating the cube from the ceiling in order to find the link between them in a kinetic form.
–Painting the walls: I painted the wall with freehand paintings and drawings to represent its aesthetics; the gold leaf and the gold paint coming from the real gold in the Ka’ba, its cube building made of stones and covered with the Kisawa: hand-made clothes from natural silk and gold thread. The door is also made of real gold.
Through that limited time, I just finished the work exactly before the show, I had some technical difficulties to hang the box with its rotation motor. It fell down twice: the first time, there was still time to fix it with gold leaf. Unfortunately, the second time there was no time. The show was beginning, the action itself was answering my question: to where my art is going? For me, it was not only an accident, But It was also a chance to understand my exact position, I returned back to my beginning point. It leads to asking my self: Where am I to my art? Do I will still spend time on solving technical problems? I prefer om my next projects spending time and effort on creating ideas on its simplest show. MA Fine Art is not only for practice, but it is also focusing on the creative process and journey. Even if I like complexity, after “UNIT1 SHOW” I decided to make it simple but deep, light but strong, easy but significant, clear and wide. I am really excited to start UNIT2 in a new HUDA’s look.