Fall of the House of Usher I and II (2017)

Fall of the House of Usher I (2017) is a 12 minute animation, exploring Watson and Webber’s 1929 silent film adaption of the Edgar Allan Poe short story from 1839; a tale about decay and destruction. The work fuses two hundred ink drawings made with the technical process of machine learning to accentuate the horror story in the original film and notions of fear around artificial intelligence itself. Each still has been generated by a general adversarial network trained on original ink drawings.

A hand made training set of two hundred ink drawings inspired by the 1929 silent film version of The Fall of the House of Usher, was processed using a series of interconnected general adversarial networks. The end result was an animation created from a series of machine made stills. By manipulating the reciprocity and feedback between the original film, drawing and this form of technology, the film’s original motifs are Ridler heightened and intensified by liberating fugitive aspects of memory to create a sense of the uncanny that is partly machine-made.

Fall of the House of Usher II (2017) is a handmade dataset of over two hundred individual ink drawings based on Watson and Webber’s 1929 silent film, Fall of the House of Usher. A system of feedback loops processed and reproduced the drawings using specially modified algorithms. Footage generated by a generative adversarial network was then used to form the basis of the next training set. Concepts of repetition, remembrance and recreation are central to the Fall of the House Usher series.

(Text by Anna Ridler)