Mario Klingemann

Pioneer of Generative Art

Nadine Zacharias
Feb 18 · 3 min read
Copyright by and Courtesy of Mario Klingemann

The artist Mario Klingemann is working at a new art frontier. He is one of the founders of generative art working by means of Creative Coding and Artificial Intelligence with its wide fields of Machine Learning, Neural Networks and Deep Learning Algorithms.
Don’t be scared by these terms. Mario unravels them, is easy to understand and fun to listen to.
With his open, welcoming personality he invites everyone to learn more about the sealed books of GANs, Deep Dreams, Algorithms and Neural Networks — figuratively spoken his paint and brush. Wow effects promised.

Part 01
Mario Klingemann takes us on an unusual journey how he became an artist. Being a talented programmer from teenage on and a creative mind, Mario was not satisfied with the conventional ways of studying IT or going to art school simply because of the fact that the field he was interested in did not exist in neither programming nor at art school curriculum. After excursions into advertising, he followed his creative forces. With computers becoming more powerful Mario could now execute his ideas.
He calls his new art NEUROGRAPHY — a blend of the words “neural and “photography”. Like an photographer Mario is searching for the perfect framing of his pictures, but not in reality, but in virtuality, in so-called latent spaces for which he trains the machine/ model. These “spaces” are created by computers and programmers alike, and — in an age in which every inch of our world is meticulously measured — these spaces mark new territories that artists like Mario now set foot in creating images and videos with motives unknown so far.

Part 02
With the rise of Neural Networks and Deep Learning algorithms two years ago — that are mainly used by scientists and the industry to program artificial intelligence — Mario had a major breakthrough as an artist.
Today, everyone knows about the Deep Dream Pictures from Google, but Mario went further. Being interested in the human shape and having folders full of millions of source images, Mario created his own Deep Dream pictures and videos that are fascinating and frightening at the same time because he trained a model that deformed the human shape.
In collaboration with the band Freeda Beest he produced a video by feeding the model with over 100.000 images of women faces and by instructing it to react synchronically to the underlying music — the result — a pioneering music video.
Part 02 ends with showing some of Mario’s early sketches such as the movie “Island of Consciousness” that were coded in good, old Flash.

Part 03
“Artificial Muse” is one of the most recent work and a collaboration between fine artist Albert Barqué-Duran and Mario Klingemann. Here the two artists are pushing limits, handing over the artistic control to the machine that itself created an image of a muse. The fine artist is only meant to be the executor, who paints the machine-generated muse on canvas — but only putatively, because the machine again was trained by Mario.
This project raises fundamental questions about how and where art emerges and about artistic interventions by men and machine.
Mario’s video “Alternative Face” went viral in early 2017 and is a direct response to Kellyanne Conway’s infamous statement that tried to justify falsehood by means of “alternative facts”. Here Mario became politically, but more importantly he revealed that machines can already create alternative faces and thus alternative facts as well.
At the end of the interview Mario talks about cybernetic aesthetics and other inspirational sources, Feedback Loops and his pseudonym Quasimondo.



Moving Ideas.arts is an in-house produced web series by Moving Ideas with film interviews of well-known and emerging contemporary artists. The series can be watched on the YouTube channel Moving Ideas.arts.

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Nadine Zacharias

Written by

Filmemacherin und Ethnologin. Ihre Filmproduktionsfirma MOVING IDEAS ist spezialisiert auf Museums- und Wissenschaftsfilme: