Artist Creates 88 Nonillion Imaginary Artworks For The Tate

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An artist has created an incomprehensibly large number of imaginary artworks for the Tate using a computer algorithm.

The artist behind 'Shardcore', a website exploring "the interface between art and science" created the works using a massive dataset of artistic descriptions released by the museum.

Released on Github, the Tate's data included information on 70,000 artworks that it owns or owns jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland, as well as 3,500 associated artists.

Shardcore noticed that as well as objective data - the artist's name, the date of the work and the materials - were more subjective tags describing the emotional resonance of the work, the movements to which it belongs and other "uniquely human judgements".

With this data in hand, the artist built a tool which can recombine the data in new ways - effectively creating descriptions for works which do not exist, but conceivably could exist. As so:

The total number of works 'created' through the establishment of the tool is a healthy 88,577,208,667,721,179,117,706,090,119,168 (which for clarity is "eighty-eight nonillion, five hundred seventy-seven octillion, two hundred eight septillion, six hundred sixty-seven sextillion, seven hundred twenty-one quintillion, one hundred seventy-nine quadrillion, one hundred seventeen trillion, seven hundred six billion, ninety million, one hundred nineteen thousand, one hundred sixty-eight")

The works can be explored using an online tool, here. Below we've uploaded some of our favourites so far.

Shardcore wonders whether the entire process could be automated - including the creation of the works themselves by a generative 3D printer:

"It makes me wonder whether the whole process, from generating an idea through to the actual production of the artwork could perhaps be automated. Maybe a hook into the Thingiverse API and a 3d printer? In the meantime, please enjoy exploring an area of idea space, created purely by a machine."