Bushwalking, is a video generated with a StyleGAN2 trained on the material of Yuri Bolotin's bushwalks in the Blue Mountains area in New South Wales, Australia. The video takes the viewer around the region, showcases its distinct features, and, in essence, is something like a panorama of the whole region.
The StyleGAN2 model was trained on the photos taken by Yuri Bolotin's bushwalks. Yuri is an explorer, bushwalker and environmentalist. He is also a director of BigCi (Bilpin International Ground for Creative Initiatives), where I was a resident from November 15th to December 12th, 2023. Yuri is a member of the Bush Explorers and is involved in the Garden of Stones book series. Yuri’s photos were the most suitable data for this project because they depict what the area's landscape really is, it would be impossible to obtain them in any other way, and also in this manner, the model is trained on the bushwalkers’ insight and passion into the region’s unique sculptural landforms.
The Gardens of Stone National Park is a unique place or a pagoda country which can be seen from so many different viewpoints. It has a great biodiversity and geodiversity but also a rich political history mainly due to the coal mining activities that is still continued. The characteristics that make the Gardens of Stones so unique are described in Draft Plan of Management by The National Parks and Wildlife Service issued in August 2004: important values of the park include the spectacular wild and rugged scenery, a diversity of natural environments, the occurrence of threatened or restricted native plant and animal species, extensions to plant communities of neighbouring biogeographical regions and its cultural landscape. Because of its values, Gardens of Stone National Park has been included as part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
As it is stated in the Gardens of Stone book: “No one bushwalker, or even a group of bushwalkers, can fully explore the pagoda country in a lifetime.” The generated video attempts to highlight the uniqueness of this landscape and the impossibility of exploring it whole by utilizing a variation of the StyleGAN2 generator to generate a continuous infinite landscape by connecting the generated images in a way similar to a camera translating between two unrelated scenes.
The sound was also algorithmically generated using text-to-sound models. I used as text prompts the names of various sites in the area from the latest Gardens of Stone Book that were in the image captions, e.g., Edwins Bath, Eldorado Slots, Firefly Point, Double Decker Cave, East Creek Falls, Massive Overhang Canyon, Entrance Climb to Glen Trig, Altar Room Panorama, Whispering Gallery, Cathedral Point, Centaur Rocks.
The sound was also algorithmically generated using text to sound models. I used as text prompts the names of various sites in the area from the latest Gardens of Stone Book that were in the image captions, e.g. Edwins Bath, Eldorado Slots, Firefly Point, Double Decker Cave, East Creek Falls, Massive Overhang Canyon, Entrance Climb to Glen Trig, Altar Room Panorama, Whispering Gallery, Cathedral Point, Centaur Rocks.
Bushwalking is presented as the various applied algorithms generated it without any post-processing.
Bushwalking was presented at the BigCi Open Day on December 10th 2023 at Bilpin, NSW, Australia.
1. Skorokhodov, I., Sotnikov, G. and Elhoseiny, M., Aligning Latent and Image Spaces to Connect the Unconnectable, arXiv:2104.06954, 2021