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Bringing Film Heritage to the Algorithmic Age

Jan Bot

Jan Bot is a computer program that works day and night producing experimental films sourced with footage from Bits & Pieces, a collection of hand-picked found footage that curators from the Netherlands Filmmuseum (EYE Institute) have been gathering since 1989.

 

Jan Bot uses so-called Artificial Intelligence algorithms to select news items that are trending online. After studying them, it uses the news items as a reference to select images from the Bits & Pieces archive. The criteria to do so is simple: the images need to have a meaningful connection to the news items. In other words, our bot finds inspiration in trending news to choose the footage for its next film.

Every day Jan Bot produces an average of twenty films inspired by news trending online. And from these twenty films, every day Jan Bot selects the one that it considers its best to then publish through its social media channels: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

 

So, in summary, Jan Bot is mainly two things:

 

First, a new method to make experimental cinema that explores the aesthetics of online media and uses algorithms as editing tools.

 

Second, a very original way to present old audiovisual heritage by making it available through the online world.

Every day Jan Bot produces an average of twenty films inspired by news trending online. And from these twenty films, every day Jan Bot selects the one that it considers its best to then publish through its social media channels: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

 

So, in summary, Jan Bot is mainly two things:

 

First, a new method to make experimental cinema that explores the aesthetics of online media and uses algorithms as editing tools.

 

Second, a very original way to present old audiovisual heritage by making it available through the online world.

What is fascinating from Jan Bot’s films is to be able to see from the perspective of a non-human entity, such as a machine. Not a machine that mirrors us, but to the contrary, something alien to us.

In creating Jan Bot, we believe that for humans to be more humanised, it is necessary to let machines be machines. Behaving like machines, instead of humanoids, imitating the things that we humans do, as we often see.

 

Because only then we can learn to appreciate, through the eyes of the machine, those unique qualities that make us human.

The Artist
 

Jan Bot is a creation of experimental filmmakers Bram Loogman and Pablo Núñez Palma in collaboration with EYE Filmmuseum. The bot has generated more than 20 thousand short experimental films, on an average pace of 20 films a day since 2017. To watch the bot in action visit www.jan.bot

 

More info:

www.medium.com/janbot