Jacob Broms Engblom /Sticks And Stones/

Posted on: December 3rd, 2020 by Mary Meixner No Comments

Jacob Broms Engblom (*1986) is Swedish digital artist who graduated in Communication and Media Studies from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Since 2009, he has been part of the net art creative duo buildinging with Californian technologist, web developer and software engineer Mitch Trale. They run together e.g. a gallery of contemporary art in computer screensavers Idle Screenings (2012–2015).

His independent work includes simple web-based works, in which the conceptual charge is more important than the aesthetic grasp. His works thematise the medium of the Internet and accelerate its limits, and are charged with a distinctive sense of humor. Recently, Engblom has been intensively involved in artificial intelligence as creative artistic practice (eg. GANField, Brain Nursery Egg TV).

One of these works is presented also in ScreenSaverGallery. It seems as if the patterns emerging from these abstract moving images has some clear rules, logical development, and encouraged a calm concentration, contemplation maybe… As if they were revealing a sort of hidden, somehow mystical, scenario. What wer are inte fact looking at though, is a recorded visualization of the training progress of an artificial intelligence (DCGAN neural network) on ImageNet sets of “sticks” and “stones”. Having in mind the Space Odyssey or other pop culture (or nature) references, stick and stones in itself are quite enigmatic motive since they have exceptional status within the evolution of human society. They are symbol of progress of our predecessors towards humanity and technology, basic instruments as an extension of man’s body, but at the same time also natural structures beyond time and anthropomorphic perspective.


The exhibition is part of the official program of the Festival of Film Animation and Contemporary Art PAF Olomouc 2020 (Dec 3–6 2020). This year you can screen all the festival program on-line and for free.


Join us especially for Pattern Extraction – talk by Jacob Broms Engblom on his recent work with AI, 4 pm Friday Dec 4. Organized by PAF Festival. Join us at Zoom (link here) or watch stream at http://2020.pifpaf.cz/ and facebook/PAFOlomouc.

ScreenSaverGallery is financially supported by the statutory city of Brno.

Also, we dive more into Jacob’s work in publication we are currently preparing: The Art of Screensaver (ed. Marie Meixnerová, PAF & FaVU, 2020). It will be introduced into international distribution in January 2021, and can be pre-ordered at shop@pifpaf.cz for delivery.

Photo (c) Barbora Trnková & PAF

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