Science, Science and Society, Technology

Spellbinding: Computers Watching Movies

Artist Benjamin Grosser has done some utterly fascinating - given us a new perspective on, well, our perception by showing us how computers ‘watch’ movies.

The outcome is stunning. Each movie used - from Taxi Driver to The Matrix, Space 2001 to American Beauty - shows a strikingly different pattern. They come from software, written by Grosser, which illustrates how a computer ‘watches’ a movie in realtime. You can see where the computer focuses - perhaps on a floating plastic bag, or perhaps on multiple points as buildings explode out. His videos align the movie’s soundtrack with these sketches, giving a very strange, surreal and somehow beautifully appropriate view of the films themselves.

I find they also force one to listen especially to the music and inflections of the film - the total effect is mesmerising.

As Grosser says in an interview with FastCo:

“What is different about our vision that finds more to look at than the computer does?” Grosser asks. “Certainly our narrative construction of the scene and its role within the larger film plays a part here. But Computers Watching Movies shows me just how much my brain ‘fills in’ with these clips, and how my mind is left with some visual space that asks me to construct more of the narrative on my own.”


What do you think? Brilliant or point(ahaha)less?

Computers Watching Movies (Ben’s site)
Watch Computers Watch Famous Movies (FastCo interview with Grosser)