Machine Dreams

Machine Dreams 2020 is a generative video and still image work generated by code and adapted from an earlier work titled Machine Learning with Visual Overlay 2019. In Machine Training with Visual Overlay two algorithms run in parallel, one informing the other with its actions.

The first algorithm is based on Reinforcement Learning, an area of Machine Learning. In Reinforcement Learning software agents take actions within an environment. Agents here learn over time, based on the rewards they receive – learning from trial and error. This technique has proven to be very successful when applied in games, controlling robots, or undertaking autonomous tasks.

The second algorithm is based on a technique called Ray Marching. Here the algorithm traces a virtual path of light step by step while testing for interections with objects in virtual environments. Ray Marching is useful to find surfaces and to render volumes in 3D space. It is often used in computer graphics to render (hyper-)realistic looking 3D scenarios in real-time and has its place in the demo scene, games, virtual reality, special effects in movies or high-end graphics engines.


Code is best written when in the flow, in a state of mind comparable to that of solitude and pure focus. Writing code is often associated with logic, rationality and efficiency – Machine Dreams eludes this approach. It is a generative system that creates a constantly changing sequence of images. Random numbers represent the sensory experience captured in this imaginary world, and computational processes translate into fleeting moments of abstract patterns.

Format 1
Video with sound, first iteration
Format 2
Digital image, from the Machine Dreams Series