Bringing EYE Filmmuseum's Film Heritage To The Algorithmic Age

Jan Bot

An unusual Ai powered computer program works day and night, making experimental films inspired by daily news and early twentieth-century footage. Its name is Jan Bot, Eye Filmmuseum’s first robot employee.

How can you breathe new life into an old film collection? Film archives devote endless amounts of time and energy to the preservation of old films. But this work has little significance if these treasures remain hidden from the audience. Seeking a plausible solution to this problem, EYE Filmmuseum collaborated with filmmakers Bram Loogman and Pablo Núñez Palma to envision the future of film preservation. The result: Jan Bot.

Jan Bot is a computer program designed to generate short experimental films based on two ingredients: Eye’s archival film footage and today’s trending topics.

On its website, www.jan.bot, Jan Bot streams an average of ten 30 seconds films per day, which amounts to a total of more than twenty thousand pieces to date. Each day Jan Bot chooses one of these videos to post on social media.

To produce this massive amount of original work, Jan Bot uses artificial intelligence services found by its creators on the web. “Many big companies, like Google and IBM, are offering tools for image recognition and language analysis, some of them even for free. So we took a bunch of them and glued them together to make films”, says Loogman, one of the minds behind Jan Bot.

The results are unexpectedly unique. If at first glance Jan Bot’s films seem to combine images and text randomly, on a second reading, however, its choices for footage and intertitles reveal a systematic if unusual sense-making logic.

Jan Bot is a native artistic research project on algorithmic filmmaking. Reflections around this research have been published by the authors on Jan Bot’s digital publication: The Metalog.

Exhibitions

  • Eye Filmmuseum
  • Nederlands Film Festival
  • InScience Film Festival Nijmegen
  • Impakt Arts Festival
  • Video Vortex Malta Edition

Media

Jan Bot will not replace the human video essay maker anytime soon, but that isn’t the point. What it can do is generate excitement: for archival footage, for algorithm-based filmmaking, for the poetry of oddity.

Review from Film Scapel

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Hi there!

The mission of Third Eye Media is to tell stories that connect people, build communities around positive change, improve our culture, destroy old stereotypes, and support a more genuine and authentic perception of who we are.

Are you a creative professional (designer, coder, marketeer, etc.) or researcher (scientist, artist) who cares about these topics?

Would you like to share ideas with like-minded people and maybe unite forces for starting new adventures?

Drop me a line. Let’s stay connected.

Thanks for your interest.