Palm processing


Palm processing,  stampa inkjet su carta baritata, 97 x 58 cm, 2019

This work is part of a series in progress, in which some of the basic techniques of statistical analysis and dimensional reduction are applied by the artist to images from her archive, to explore their functioning, potential and limits. These analytical techniques, at the basis of machine learning, data mining and artificial intelligence algorithms, are used everywhere (platforms, social media, search engines, marketing advice …), in a hidden and pervasive way, and they need data and information to feed and function.
The dynamic of extraction, in which the resources of a place or of a group are systematically subtracted to create profit elsewhere, has also moved into the extraterritorial and immaterial world of data (“data extractivism”). And so images and photographs, before and beyond any aesthetic or emotional content, are essentially sources of algorithmic information.

Images of a palm branch are processed to extract mean, standard deviation and eigenvectors. Moreover a feature extraction algorithm is applied on two images of this series: feature extraction algorithm which allows to recognize and isolate some significant and characteristic points of the image. Subsequently they are subjected to a “feature matching” process, which relates the characteristics of the two images trying to associate them: in this case the algorithm has a very poor performance, confused by the complexity of the leaves and the slight out of focus of the second image.

The palm tree, a topos of the history of ancient and contemporary art, is not only seen on the visual level but also on the symbolic one. An extractive resource subject to intense exploitation (the oil palm is an pervasive product in food and energy industry), the image of the palm is about extractivism on one side, while on the other it evokes promises of exotic paradises, happiness and desire on which the economic system itself leverages.