The work was available on our website only for the period of the screening.
“The Perfect Human” (00:16:43) by Lilan Yang, USA, 2021
Inspired by Jørgen Leth’s black and white cult classic “The Perfect Human” (1968) which raises many simple yet philosophical questions about who the perfect human is, what it means to be human, or perfect, this work applies unsupervised machine learning and experimental filmmaking techniques to reexamine and question the contested notion of perfection in the eyes of artificial intelligence. Later the remake of the computer-generated moving images are transformed from digital recreation to an analog artifact of transparencies which completed the cycles from analog film to digital video and back to 16mm format, from motion pictures to still images, and then latent-space interpolation, from a proxy of human memories to the machine learning construct.
As a cinephile and an avid traveler, I see the surrounding world through places and the lens of cinema, trying to comprehend things elsewhere and out of reach. My artistic research has always focused on places, the myth of cities and landscapes, and how moving images and artificial intelligence can alter people’s perceptions of places. I question how we perceive the world through analog optical apparatuses and how memories are multidimensional yet fragile. Our recollections of people and places can be distorted, unrecognizable, and fictitious. These memories would eventually diminish with the passing of time.
Through moving images and installations, I try to preserve human memories captured by cameras and engrave these recollections on celluloid, and investigate how information is lost in attempts to remember. I reconstruct urban and rural landscapes based on collective memories with machine learning. I delve into the theme of self-discovery through experimental film techniques, navigate the complexities of growing up within the Asian diaspora and my queer identity, and piece together the internal landscape and a sense of belonging within the diverse and complex world.
Lilan Yang is an artist and experimental filmmaker from Chongqing, China, who explores the myth of cities and landscapes, ways of seeing and unseeing, and sentiments of remembering and forgetting. Her practice involves lens-based analog media such as 16mm filmmaking and 35mm photography, as well as digital technologies such as machine learning and data visualization. She received a BS in Computer Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MFA in Digital + Media from Rhode Island School of Design. She now resides in New York and teaches at Parsons School of Design.
Director, producer: Lilan Yang
Reference footage: “The Perfect Human” by Jørgen Leth
Publications: Analog Cookbook Issue #6 https://uncpress.org/book/9781469676753/analog-cookbook-issue-6/
Reference: “The Perfect Human” by Jørgen Leth https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Perfect_Human