Truth Is a Forgotten Memory
“Zidnjaci” are embroidered kitchen wall cloths that represent a valuable source of knowledge about everyday life and customs of a certain time. They were originally a favorite decoration in our grandmothers’ kitchens, but they also had a practical use value – they protected the wall from splashes of hot oil, or bubbles that jump out of boiling stews and soups. Witty and instructive messages were soon added to them, because it was noticed that these decorative objects can promote “good values“.
“Zidnjaci” in our project retain relatively standard traditional form of text and image, but the text was generated using Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. Texts generated by GPT-3 were embroided to “zidnjaci” as new-normal sayings that reflect the current culture of everyday life. The canvases were embroidered on the face and back so that the „beautiful“ side overlaps with the „ugly“ side, which is usually hidden, and in this way a kind of glitch was obtained in the embroidered text and image. The result were new „zidnjaci“ on which artificial intelligence has devised a saying and motif that replaced outdated, often morally questionable traditional sayings. These traditional sayings have lost their value, but in this work artificial intelligence helped us implant new questionable values into our new everyday life.
In the process first we 3D-scanned the archive of “zidnjaci” from the Museum of Brodsko Posavlje in Slavonski Brod, Croatia; after scanning, we modified the scanned „zidnjaci“ and made a new pattern that we later printed on the fabric which was used as a base for our new zidnjaci. The size of the fabric is approximately 60 inches, which is the size of the screen we will use in our digital experience. The colour of the thread we used to embroid images and text is the colour of the year 2022, announced by Pantone. We put the sayings of old „zidnjaci“ in memory of GPT-3 and combined with its own memory data GPT-3 generated new sayings. Beside sewing paper we used for making patterns, we also used orange wrappers that Željko collects. As some form of throwaway art similar to zidnjaci, orange wrappers in history, just like „zidnjaci“, provided particularly fertile ground for sociologists, anthropologists, art, and food historians alike, as a conduit for transmitting social values and cultural trends: wrappers promoted good health, they showcased current events, fashion trends, advances in transportation and technology, and reflected changing gender attitudes, just to name a few. How can we experience the past, the present and the project on a different path? The game engine as a “mother” is a safe platform for multiple different narrations for our project Truth Is a Forgotten Memory. A digital experience as well as new form of archive of the material captured with the 3D-Scanner as well as produced by us to preserve in eternity. Video games have undoubtedly become the most widespread form of entertainment, and their impact on representational stereotypes is huge.
This is why we choose a video game environment to present our work in the digital but as well as together with the analouge zidnjaci in the real and seemingly endless possibilities are opened by us artists to experience our works.
Therefore we combine Rebecca’s digital and my analogue production in working with textile as well as digital production techniques, resulting in a collection of fabric paintings Zidnjaci as data medium of our time.
Special Thanks to:
Neuromatic Game Art for the access to GPT3-openAI
GPT3-AI sayings based on traditional sayings from 19th century “zidnjaci” cloths (3D-collage)
In our project “Truth Is a Forgotten Memory” we combine Rebecca’s digital and Željko’s analogue production in working with textile as well as digital production techniques, resulting in a collection of fabric paintings (“zidnjaci”) as data medium of our time. “Zidnjaci” in this project retain relatively standard traditional form of text and image, but the text is generated using GPT-3, an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. Sayings are generated using the most common terms we were exposed to during the pandemic. Texts generated by GPT-3 were embroided to the fabric on which we printed the pattern modified from the old “zidnjaci”. These new-normal sayings reflect the current culture of everyday life, cluttered with fake news and misinformation.