Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Chris Hamamoto and Federico Pérez Villoro: Unseen.Garden


Project by Chris Hamamoto and Federico Pérez Villoro

Software development by Greg Monroe

Sound design by Tiger Dingsun

July 13 – December 15, 2023

Web-based project 


Check out Unseen.Garden, HERE.


This website compiles a series of stock-image timelapses displaying flowers blooming and decaying with auto-generated captions added to them by a custom-made program. Viewers can toggle between various stages in the machine vision model’s training progress as they are presented with a new plant every time the page is loaded. 

The project explores the intransferability of meaning between text and images and the reproduction of taxonomic orders in both stock imagery and machine vision. A technical reenactment of NeuralTalk, an early model designed to write sentences that describe images’ contents, this adaptation of it for contemporary computers exposes the limits of object recognition technologies — its inaccurate outcomes make explicit the unstable relation between images and their conceptual representations.

The ability for computers to segment and operationalize visuals as textual data marks a major shift in the role of photographs today. In the case of NeuralTalk, and this derivative, the algorithms over-identifies human forms due to their architecture and training datasets. By applying the software to images of plants in stages of transformation, this exploration makes cite of the anthropocentric mischaracterization coded into machines and the capabilities of computer vision when confronted with information that falls outside of a specific worldview.


Artist Biography:

Chris Hamamoto and Federico Pérez Villoro’s collaborative work investigates the impact of emerging technologies in contemporary culture and politics. 

Chris is based in Seoul, South Korea and works as a designer and educator. He is an assistant professor at Seoul National University, and has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, California College of the Arts, and University of San Francisco. 

Federico is an artist and researcher living and working in Mexico City. In 2019, he founded Materia Abierta, a summer school on theory, art, and technology and has served as a faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design and the California College of the Arts. 

Chris and Federico have lectured as schools such as ETH Zurich, Rutgers University, CalArts, The New School, UNAM, KARTs, and Hongik University and their work has been exhibited, published and recognized by institutions such as Printed Matter, the Walker Art Center, OCAT Shenzhen, The Serving Library, Gwangju Design Biennale, IDEA Magazine, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.


Poster design by Chris Hamamoto and Federico Pérez Villoro.

Accessibility: The gallery is wheelchair and walker accessible. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326 or [email protected].

Centre A is situated on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. We honour, respect, and give thanks to our hosts.