The following works by Memo Akten will be exhibited in the Conference Hall.

Learning To See – Gloomy Sunday

An artificial neural network looking out onto the world, trying to make sense of what it sees, in context of what it’s seen before.

It can only see what it already knows, just like us.

“Learning To See” is an ongoing series of works that use state-of-the-art Machine Learning algorithms as a means of reflecting on ourselves and how we make sense of the world. The picture we see in our conscious mind is not a mirror image of the outside world, but is a reconstruction based on our expectations and prior beliefs. In “Learning To See”, an artificial neural network loosely inspired by our own visual cortex, looks through cameras and tries to make sense of what it sees. Of course it can only see what it already knows. Just like us.

The work is part of a broader line of inquiry about self affirming cognitive biases, our inability to see the world from others’ point of view, and the resulting social polarization.


FIGHT! is a Virtual Reality artwork where the viewer’s two eyes are presented with radically different images, resulting in a phenomenon known as binocular rivalry. The conscious mind does not ‘see’ both images, but unpredictably alternates between them with unstable, patchy transitions depending on the viewer’s physiology. Even though everybody is presented with the same imagery, your conscious visual experience will be different to mine. I cannot see what you see, you cannot see what I see. And what we both see, is different to what is actually presented. We are all unable to fully perceive the ‘reality’ before us.