“To understand AI, we should think harder about bullshit”
Alan Blackwell


I'm thrilled to introduce SMILE at the Belfast Photo Festival. This tech-art installation transforms audience portraits into flawless replicas, engaging viewers in an uncanny dialogue with AI. Get ready to see your likeness smiling back at you!
When approached by the Belfast Photo Festival to contribute to their exploration of divergence, I immediately envisioned a merger of two of my favourite installations PLPLPL.PL and the Forgettable art Machine.
Drawing from the conceptual framework and technical setup of PLPLPL.PL, a dystopian take on surveillance technology, I aim to critically examine another technology: AI, specifically its role in visual description and generation. An investigation I began with the Forgettable art Machine, an interactive installation designed to celebrate, question and demystify the generative visual power of AI.
Researching the dystopian implications of AI, I stumbled upon a great Article by Alan Blackwell, with the self-explanatory title Oops! We Automated Bullshit. This article put me on the path of super-persuasiveness, a feature also prevalent in text to Image AIs, such as Midjourney, Dall-e and Stable Diffusion. When using these models to describe and replicate images, the outcomes frequently manifest as hyper-perfect versions of the original images, portraying nearly flawless human beings (except of course for the amount of fingers).
This resulted in the interactive installation SMILE in which the members of the audience are continuously transformed into flawless versions of themselves, into super beings, fulfilling every preconception of perfection. For this purpose I will employ existing AIs with minimal interference, preserving their inherent biases, in tasks such as describing and visualising a participant's 'race' or gender. As I regard the biases in our technological systems not as errors of the tech itself, but rather as magnifications of our societal imperfections that need to be brought to light.
In short, SMILE transforms portraits of its visitors into flawless, super-persuasive replicas, eerily smiling back at the audience. It serves as a cautionary tale about the prevalent tendency toward Bullshit in our technology, our politics and our society in general.


Belfast Photo Festival GB | June '24

"We define bullshitting as language that’s meant to impress others without any regard for the truth"
Mane Kara-Yakoubian



a project by
Matthias Oostrik
Diederik Schoorl
ai music
Than van Than



audiovisual installation

48 channel video | 3 channel sound | 1 channel camera


1.8 meter

365 kg

footprint W*D*H
8x8x5 meters

video portraits collected
2 (so far...)

software used
Stable Diffusion | Yolo v8 | DeepFace | Depth AI | openGL | Python