Letters from Nature
Jeroen van der Most and Peter van der Putten
Climate change is destroying the earth, but nature has no voice to speak out against it. In the poetic art project Letters from Nature, the technology of the future picks up the pen. With artificial intelligence, ice caps, glaciers and coral reefs write letters to world leaders, warning them of the future and asking for help.
For thousands of years, people have fantasised about nature speaking to us. In the earliest stories, talking animals, trees, rivers and mountains played a role. Now, their voice is in the hands of one of the most powerful language machines ever built: with just a small piece of starting text, this machine succeeds in writing a sequel, thanks to an extensive training programme with billions of words, sourced from the Internet.
References to our history are also shifting in the form of Letters from Nature. The work of art is reminiscent of an obelisk, and thus evokes associations with the buildings of the Romans and Egyptians. We still find this form in squares in cities all over the world, as a symbol of human civilisation, strength and progress. Present and past come together in a work in which the visitor, together with the artwork, can take action to turn the tide. Will technology be the new messenger of nature?
"This cool application of artificial intelligence creates awareness in a playful way and offers visitors a way to act immediately."
- the jury of If Things Grow Wrong
about the makers
Jeroen van der Most
Jeroen van der Most makes art with data, algorithms and artificial intelligence. He explores how AI can bridge the imaginary border between ourselves and our environment. He makes autonomous work, but also created artworks for organisations such as Amnesty International, Sogeti, Funda, Radboud University Nijmegen and hardware producer NVIDIA.
Peter van der Putten
Peter van der Putten is assistant professor at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) at Leiden University and works in the AI industry. He teaches, among others, in AI and Media Technology programmes. Van der Putten investigates intelligence, creativity, emotions and other human characteristics with artificial creatures. He also speculates about our future with technology.
If Things Grow Wrong
Letters from Nature is part of the exhibition If Things Grow Wrong. We want faster, bigger, more. Is that always better, or do problems grow unnoticed? The exhibition on growth addiction can be seen from October 15th in Museum De Lakenhal.more about the exhibition order your tickets