Anton Ginzburg: Surface
Anton Ginzburg, ML CRSH, 2021, video still.

Anton Ginzburg: Surface

Contemporary Calgary, Calgary, AB - To June 16

by Michael Turner

Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1974, and now based in New York, Anton Ginzburg works in a variety of media, including painting, graphic art, moving image and architectural collaborations, with a thematic focus on historical narratives and poetic studies of place, representation and modernist form. However, it is his work with AI, algorithms, cultural labour and machine learning that forms the basis of Surface.

Comprising three bodies of work, the exhibition features 2-D paintings in the artist’s Yerevan series (2022), 3-D sculptures in his Film Forms (2021) and, most viscerally, a 4-D moving image work that is titled ML CRSH (2021). All three artworks use algorithms to, in Ginzburg’s words, “articulate the patterns and relationships that define what we now know as ‘algorithmic culture.’ ”

ML CRSH is a 3½-minute HD video shot from the POV of a car as it races down a city street. It was developed using a 3-D gaming engine environment for self-driving vehicles and an AI algorithm applied to a database collection of photos of Dresden, Germany. The viewer is propelled into a sequence of montaged crashes involving the car and the “digital replicas of art objects” that stand in its way.

On his website, Ginzburg writes that the initial ML CRSH video was inspired by Ant Farm’s performance video Media Burn (1975), where a souped-up Cadillac drives through a bank of flaming TV sets. Only now, the “real” landscape is swapped out for a digital environment of “database logic,” while the car gives way to what is seen from behind its driverless wheel.

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