OUCHHH: The Combination Of Art And Technology In Public Spaces

More than ever, cities are turning to artists, architects and designers to create meaningful, future-proof projects for public spaces. Public art is often used to create and strengthen a sense of belonging, but it can also be used to challenge our relationship with those around us, to spark conversation, and to inform and educate.

On the occasion of our first project in Dubai at ICD Brookfield Place for which we collaborated with the famous new media art studio Ouchhh, we wanted to give them the floor to express themselves about their artistic approach and their relationship to public art.

Can you tell us more about Ouchhh?

Ouchhh is discovering the boundaries of art by conducting research on the relationships between architecture, art, science, technology, new media arts, and artificial intelligence. We consider each project a challenge and take a fresh and unique approach to all of our work. Our studio journey started 10 years ago. The in-house team (25 people) consists of varied talent from AI Artists, engineers, academicians, creative coders, designers, motion graphic designers, and media designers, all with one common vision that knowledge creates an epic public experience. Ouchhh has created approximately 52 public art projects for cities in nearly every continent.

How would you describe your studio’s creative process?

Every art project starts with big, meaningful questions in our studio. Our main question for DATAMONOLITH_AI was: “What would happen if the consciousness of the world’s oldest ancient origins data and AI came together for a hybrid architectural public art?”. We collaborated with scientists and academicians to create this hybrid data sculpture. We then built up our team to include data scientists, AI Coders, and animation designers. Generally, we invent our experimental creation process for each installation, on a case by case basis. By using the generative adversarial network (GAN) and AI algorithms, we created a DATAMONOLITH_AI, which learned from Gobeklitepe data (dating from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period: 9600–7000 BC).

Why have you focused on new media arts? What makes you want to mix art and technology/AI?

In the past, persistent advances in technology continued to boost the development of art forms. There was no exception from painting, sculpture, music, photography. Science and scientific ideas have long inspired art and artists, from Picasso and Leonardo da Vinci, to Dali and Samuel Morse. They demonstrated how scientific ideas can inspire impeccable art. Masters in history are our greatest inspiration. In this sense, as Ouchhh Studio, we always love to push boundaries in our works through the light of science and technology. New Media Art celebrated the connection between art and science from the very beginning. Digital technologies allow us to develop data sculptures, immersive experiences, and new alternative worlds. The rise of virtual art also allows for more creative opportunities, so we are excited to see the development of New Media Art happening every day.

DATAMONOLITH_AI by Ouchhh curated and produced by MASSIVart for ICD Brookfield Place DubaiWhat types of data do you usually work with?

Our data comes from wildly different sources like the human brain, space, ancient origins, sounds, visuals, texts etc… We use data as a brush and algorithms as our canvas which transforms the data into an aesthetic asset to be experienced by audiences in many ways. For example, our Poetic AI project is not just an immersive experience. Poetic AI can be read as a book and touched as a physical sculpture made by 20 million lines. We love to make invisible data into an art piece that can be seen. Our aim is to make people feel close to it by touching a data sculpture with the 20 million lines and theories made by AI. We think this is a nice middle ground between traditional and contemporary art.

Can you tell us more about the installation of DATAMONOLITH_AI? What inspired you to design it in this way?

Sci-fi movies and famous scientists are always our main inspirations. Stanley Kubrick and 2001: A Space Odyssey heavily influenced our concept design for this installation of DATAMONOLITH_AI.

How did you come to work in public spaces?

We have a dream about secret codes of cosmic multidimensional hybrid universes made by AI without physical architectural boundaries in public spaces. That’s why we are actively trying to hack public spaces with New Media tools.
DATAMONOLITH_AI by Ouchhh curated and produced by MASSIVart for ICD Brookfield Place Dubai

What is important about making art accessible to everyone at all times? How does it create an impact?

It is important for us to make people see and feel things that they do not always experience in their daily lives. Our main inspiration comes from physics, geology, science, geological environments and nature. These inspirations shape our design principles. We started to apply our knowledge of them to design across disciplines: new media and canvases – from the micro to the macro scale. Every feeling that we wanted to experience greatly influenced our own design style. We like to focus on the emotional response to the scientific connection between people and art.

What is your vision for the “city of the future”?

We predict that art and technology will appear in more bold and ambitious immersive experiences in cities. Technology is changing the way in which we make, experience and share our ideas. Art collectors love to explore this fascinating area of technology and creativity. In our works, the integration of science and technology in art should firstly serve the feelings of the audience. Many of us know the feeling of being touched by a piece of art. When a piece of art touches our souls, we are affected. We are teleported to a different place that is parallel universes. Art pleases the eyes while science communicates. As Albert Einstein said: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.” So the unknown, the mysterious, is where art and science meet. Mixing two disciplines generates a new way of thinking, for both the artist and the audience.