Chrysanthemum Studies

Chrysanthemum Study 1 and Chrysanthemum Study 2 are short moving image pieces, generated using machine learning, trained on photographs that Ridler took of flowers that were available during lockdown. The two studies make up the Chrysanthemum Studies collection. The collection is part of Ridler’s wider research interest in the way that nature - particularly plants and botany - is recorded and tracing the lineage of natural history with the use of technology. In this new work, white flowers individually bloom, grow and decay at sporadic, yet seemingly organic intervals, as an algorithm strives to recreate realistic depictions. Flashes of white and yellow petals open and close as leaves on the stems grow and disappear. The delicate, painterly sensibility of the work accentuates the physical and conceptual imbalance between nature and technology and the importance of reconciling the two.

Making the Chrysanthemum Studies collection was an exercise in adapting art practice during a pandemic lockdown. In contract with her usual practise, and with limited access to flowers, flower markets and gardens, for this new work Ridler sourced chrysanthemums at a local cornershops. The lockdown also reduced the size of the dataset Ridler was able to build; the project grew from a period of experimentation with techniques for building and examining datasets at home; Chrysanthemum Studies is an example of a different mode of working with datasets, one that is not trying to capture the entirety of the world for a machine, but as a practise that allows for the intense examination of one object

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