The Skies Epitomized is a project created in collaboration with machine learning researcher Nebojša Jojić. It is a series of backlit images representing the essence of the sky from the perspective of humans gazing at it. We have one sky, but the experiences are infinite. People have been turning their eyes towards the sky for meaning and guidance since prehistoric times. The piece investigates the contrast between what one sees when gazing at the sky in peaceful parts of the world such as Iceland and New Zealand, and what the sky looks like in the most conflicted areas in the world such as Syria and Iraq.
To build the epitome of a Syrian sky, for instance, the machine learning software is trained with the results of an internet search for images containing "syria+sky+skies." The software looks at all of the resulting images, analyzes their salient properties and based on them learns to generate brushes, which are used to paint the "sky epitomized"—the epitome of what people associate with a Syrian sky.