ML-based Generation of Neural Bodies
Myths, indigenous religions, and shamanist religions often depict the transitional human body as a praxis of cosmological metamorphosis and plurality. Metamorphosis is a special relationship between the mind and the body. As the mind transforms, the body visually transforms from one being to another with force and character of the mind. The mapping of the mind and the body is non-linear and not specific to one individual as the modern society takes for granted. Little by little, like a set of nesting dolls, the elusive human form disintegrates, and a new body transitions into a different shape every once in a while.
Role | Designer, Developer
Collaborated with Yiou Wang
Tools | StyleGAN, Houdini, Blender
Year | 2022
Click the video to see the animation
In this series of experiments, apart from various visual effects, we implemented several key ideas. First, the idea of energy of a body being visualized in virtuality. The first transformation involves flame-like energy trails that expand the body. Second, the idea of camouflage and mimicry as seen in cuttlefish and octopus, whose skin reacts to and assimilates to its environment not only in color and pattern, but also in 3D textures.
Left: Latent Space Walk of Microscopic Minerals; Right: Neural Bodies (work-in-progress)
In one sequence in our Metamorphosis, we applied the latent walk image dataset from natural minerals to the surface of the body, so that the body itself is a manifestation of what they “see” and “sense” of their surroundings.
In later developments, we hope to situate the moving figure in a mineral environment whose geological features correspond to the body’s transformation like a cuttlefish that constantly seeks unity of the body and its milieu.
Third, the idea of the hivemind, which means multiple species, beings, or bodies that are inhabited by one mind. We scattered increasing number of smaller walking bodies on the walking body in the last sequence of our video, but we applied an inverse algorithm to the size of the sub-bodies so that their size decreases with a small noise as their number increases. In our future development, we may want to apply swarm algorithms, make the sub-bodies' motion link to the main body, or disperse them across the field, and “see” from the eyes of each of these bodies with a camera attached to the head of each.
In our final, we are interested to take the mind-body idea one step further, and tap into human-nonhuman hybridization with relation to cosmological metamorphosis as an epistemology, ultimately realizing our biological and cyborgist symbiosis dream.