'Cold Flux' is a three-channel AI generated video installation created from footage Williams filmed of the Larsen-B Ice shelf whilst on an expedition to Antarctica with polar explorer Robert Swan. The ice shelf splintered off from the Antarctic peninsula in 2002 and has been disintegrating since. This footage, in collaboration with creative technologist Bryce Cronkite-Ratcliff, was used to train machine learning algorithms to generate the video landscapes which visually seemingly exist within a state of melting and freezing, forming and un-forming.
The resulting video is strange and uncanny, a familiar yet distant landscape, a prediction or a recording with echoes of the sublime. Cut into this visual landscape is an AI-generated video of the surface of the sun which is synthetic and uncertain. Cold Flux presents to us new digital materiality that is starting to exist alongside our own, while exploring its relationship to the natural world.
Within the film, a slow tracking shot shows the sides of the icebergs, while the vast blocks of ice also move within the visual narrative. Flowing and morphing in the frame, the imagery moves from the recognisable to the indistinguishable. The camera looking at the sun is static, with the sun continually rotating within the frame, something seemingly impossible.
Accompanying the video is a haunting audio track by British musician Gaika. The track is delicate, yet strong, digital but also human. Overall, Cold Flux maps the complex network between technology, environmental change and our understanding of the world.
Ben Cullen Williams