Anna and Andy

Lev Manovich

Anna and Andy , ongoing
Co-workers & Funding
Produktion : Centre pour l’image contemporaine, Saint-Gervais, Geneva [Leitung : André Iten; Administration : Brigitte Chapuis]
  • Anna and Andy
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ANNA is Anna Karenina.

ANDY is Andy Warhol.

ANNA AND ANDY uses Tolstoys novel as a script which
drives a computer-generated re-creation of Warhol´s "Screen Tests."

Interpretation (Lev Manovich, Los Angeles, 8.12.2000)

ANNA KARENINA. This heroine of Lev Tolstoy's great nineteenth century novel exemplifies the modern idea about the emotional depths of psyche.

ANDY WARHOL. About a hundred years later this American artist visualizes a new understanding of a subject. She is defined not by emotional depths but by her media surfaces, by her response to media machines of photography, film and television.

SCREEN TESTS. In the mid-1960s Warhol films dozens of Screen Tests. He positions regulars and visitors to Factory in front of a movie camera and films them, one by one. They don't speak or move, just face the camera. It is as though Warhol attempts to rob the subjects of their subjectivity by making them face the disinterested camera.

PATTERN MATCHING. Anna and Andy uses one of the most basic computer algorithms: pattern matching. Since the 1950s, the military have used computer pattern matching to monitor various communications. In particular, during the Cold War, the U.S. used computers (or at least, tried) to monitor Russian media, radio, and other communications. (It is believed that today a massive international project Echelon coordinated by the U.S. uses networks of computers to monitor global communications in mass for particular keywords as specified by various agencies involved.) The same techniques makes possible search and replace commands of all computer software, such as Microsoft Word, as well as Web search engines.

ANNA AND ANDY. The project uses the same computer techniques to scan the complex text of Anna Karenina for a set of keywords. Whenever any of the keywords is encountered, the face animation in the right window advances to a different image.

In this way, the emotional content of the novel is used as data which brings to life still face images.

The computer program extracts the passions of Anna to bring to life a subject robbed of emotional depth by modern media machines.
  • subjects
    • Art and Science
      • algorithms
    • Arts and Visual Culture
      • art history
      • literature
    • Body and Psychology
      • emotion
Technology & Material