The Essence of Instinct by Robert Peake

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The first use of Google Deep Dream technology for poetry film of which I’m aware. American-British poet and filmmaker Robert Peake worked with his usual collaborator, Valerie Kampmeier, who created the soundscape. Robert shared some process notes (along with the text of poem) on his blog:

This film-poem began as an exploration of the possibilities of using Google Deep Dream technology for film. I ran the Deep Dream software on frames of time-lapse clouds. Initial experiments were not deterministic enough, flickering wildly between very different images from frame to frame. I then composited dreamed-upon frames with their siblings to create a kind of motion blur frame, which when dreamed upon a second time created greater continuity both of movement and shape. To create further continuity, I also morphed various dream frames into each other.

The process is an attempt to simulate pareidolia — the phenomenon whereby we “recognise” patterns in random data, which is very much what Deep Dream is doing here, and what we humans do when we see shapes in clouds. The solid, iridescent imagery reminded me of William Blake, but the constantly-changing nature of these creatures made me think of the evolution of species. In researching Charles Darwin’s early life, the poem took shape. Valerie then designed the soundscape to accompany and complete this piece, drawing on her own childhood experience of hearing distant, indistinct voices.

To see more of Robert’s experiments with Deep Dream and morphing technologies, check out his recent uploads to Vimeo.

One Comment

  1. Reply
    robertpeake123 6 August, 2015

    Thanks, Dave. I’ve create an album on Vimeo of just the Deep Dream experiments as well: https://vimeo.com/album/3495348

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