The project by architect Sebastian Felix Ernst and creative technologist and composer Christian Losert arises out of the fascination about Giovanni Battista Piranesis books of the roman antique architectures Antichità Romane. In this body of work his drawings collected and maintained the identity and spatia limprint of the rich roman heritage. Contemporaneously he secretly fantasized about miraculous Capricios – artistic speculations and manipulations that were based on his architectural observations and design principles. He deciphered the language and codes of the roman antique architecture and transformed them into spatial outlines of an imagined city ”that might have been”.
Aided by the archaic medium of hand drawings and the virtually unlimited processing power of cloud based computer technology we attempt to explore these underlying aesthetics in form of an artistic experiment. Customized algorithms autonomously learn over time how to read and build relations out of the roman architecture language, by revealing an aesthetically common ground that establishes a bridge between artificial intelligence and artistic intelligence. The first version of Roma Eterna artificially re-imagines facades based on hand drawn residential homes and "palazzos", digitized from the 19th century french compendium Edifices de Rome Moderne Romby Letarouilly. During a process of abstraction elements of the facades get categorized by their architectural function and genre. These classification masks are fed into a neuronal network that learns over several days how to identify characteristic elements out of the facade drawings and, in a next step, how to draw hallucinated versions of them autonomously. Each iteration brings up a new vivid memory of the past.
sebastian ernst & christian losert
"Roma Eterna" online 7 PM, 7th of June
The first promising results lead us to the underlying question: What are beautiful proportions and where can we find and comprehend those design principles in our renaissance drawings? A series of investigations in the fields of mathematics, design and architecture allowed us to extract a fundamental system of compositorial rules into a generative algorithm. Like a playful duet the design engine autonomously proposes new facade layouts based on common cultural aesthetics that will be seen, interpreted and answered by the artificial intelligence. In November 2019 Roma Eterna has been premiered at the German Academy – Villa Massimo in Rome.