Surprise Machines for Harvard Art Museums

Surprise Machines is a project of experimental museology that sets out to visualize the entire image collection of the Harvard Art Museums, with a view to opening up unexpected vistas on more than 200,000 objects usually inaccessible to visitors. The project is part of the exhibition organized by metaLAB (at) Harvard entitled Curatorial A(i)gents and explores the limits of artificial intelligence to display a large set of images and create surprise among visitors. To achieve this feeling of surprise, a choreographic interface was designed to connect the audience’s movement with several unique views of the collection.

Rodighiero, Dario, Lins Derry, Douglas Duhaime, Jordan Kruguer, Maximilian C. Mueller, Christopher Pietsch, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Jeff Steward, and metaLAB. 2022. “Surprise Machines: Revealing Harvard Art Museums’ Image Collection.” Information Design Journal, November.