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Curated Conversations: Botto collaborates with Ryan Koopmans

Curated Conversations: Botto collaborates with Ryan Koopmans

Ryan Koopmans: The main inspiration for the collaboration is a statue from an old building holding a landline telephone. The building was created in the mid-twentieth century but was abandoned shortly after. The statue is sort of caught in time and gives an uncanny and surreal sense of place. We wanted to integrate the Botto fragments into the building we chose in an authentic way so that they were imbued with a sense of place. We decided to apply a treatment to the fragments to show that, much like the building they’re in, they’ve also experienced weathering, water damage, mold overgrowth, and the effects of nature taking over.

The idea of rewilding these spaces is an extension of what is happening anyway – they are slowly overtaken by plant life. We’ve always wanted to dig into that concept and emphasize it by deliberately adding more foliage as a creative interpretation of a likely outcome. The Botto fragments were also integrated in a way that suggests that might have always been there and thus, experienced the same effects of nature over the years.

SupeRare: Fascinating! So even though the Botto works are contemporary, they’ve been reimagined to share a history with the building they are placed in.
Ryan Koopmans: Exactly, and, at least visually, it’s more intriguing when it looks like they could have been the same paintings hanging on those walls all those years ago. However, you eventually notice that there is a stark stylistic difference that seems out of place – hints that the paintings are constructed by AI and, therefore, much more contemporary than the architecture.

Simon Hudson: You can also think of AI systems similarly, as they could be seen as ecosystems that slowly encroach on the way we live, organically taking over our lives in a sort of wild, unpredictable way. The idea that a phenomenon like this, whether that’s encroaching nature or encroaching technology, can be turned into something beautiful through a metaphor is a credit to Ryan and Alice’s incredible work.

There is an interesting duality between how nature runs its course outside of human intervention and in the case of AI, how humans drive its growth with the intent to plant and care for beautiful technology gardens. The metaphor extends to how Botto works. We can shape AI systems, which are new, to our image and intent.

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When I first saw Ryan and Alice’s work, I didn’t see an artificial image made in 3D. What I saw was alive, believable – a plausible reality. What they do with nature paints a vision of what’s possible with technology. I personally would like us all to exercise our agency and ability to make that kind of impact with or on technology.

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