La Petite Mort

In La Petite Mort, exploring the limit of how far human expressions can be captured, we have put GANs to the test using a collection of portraits of dead people who died of violent causes and people whose portraits were taken during an orgasm.

Words are often insufficient to give a precise explanation of certain concepts. For example, the word “orgasm” describes the sudden discharge of the tension built up during the cycle of sexual response. In the phase of arousal there is a point of no-return in which the will ceases to function. For some people, increase in their blood-pressure and heart-beat produces an effort of such magnitude that they may even lose consciousness for a brief period of time. The French language has an expression to describe such experiences for which the term “orgasm” is no longer sufficient: “la petite mort”. This French expression attempts to overcome the limitations of language in referring to a specific state in which the concepts of “death” and “orgasm” are indeed so close as to be almost indistinguishable.

After training, the GAN generates artificial portraits in which it is capable of capturing the essence of the expression of the subjects, many of them with closed eyes, their mouths half open ... the GAN latent space allows to generate new hybrid predictions, speculations regarding genders and categories.

Real images

Generated images