The Digital Review'22

Becoming a Mountain

critical illustration, machine learning

Tools Used

Google Colab, StyleGAN3, Illustrator


Research Question: What can a processual approach to visual media may present about medium/message assemblages? Looking at different mediums to explore performative visual media forms.

becoming a mountain

The series titled 'Becoming a Mountain' is both a critical examination of visual media and a meditation on trans-embodiment and corporeal crossings of humanly and non-humanly bodies-as in this series, mountains.

How does visual representation play into our becoming? Does representation go beyond its apparent quality and manifest itself through action beyond perception?

Inspired by the seminal essay of Aldo Leopold "Thinking Like A Mountain", Becoming a Mountain offers an alternative thinking to this essay where one does not think like a mountain, but becomes a mountain.

Intended to highlight the dichotomous boundaries between human/nonhuman and living/nonliving, I created images that show a type of entanglement of humans and mountains that we pursue as a connection in our daily lives through acts such as camping, rock climbing, hiking, trekking, and other "naturely" activities.

Processual Approach

becoming a mountain

Initial medium: pen/paper

How do I become a mountain with static medium?

becoming a mountain

Pen/paper mediated through software

How do illustrations become a mountain?

becoming a mountain

Digitized images mediated through StyleGAN3

How does the machine become a mountain?

embodied illustration

Mediation through motion tracking: work-in-progress

How do I become a mountain with embodied interaction?

StyleGAN3 trained on digitized images

Does the way of machine learning model's becoming a mountain the same with my way of becoming a mountain? The answer is in the way the GANs work, constantly trying to resemble themselves to the given input, creating a recursivity in between input and output.