Ronen Tanchum: reality interpreted

Pau Waelder

A contemporary artist, developer and an interaction designer, Ronen Tanchum has developed a body of work that explores the representation of natural phenomena and our perception of reality as it is mediated by the entertainment industry and digital media. At a time in which the attention economy fosters a visual culture based on spectacularity and evasion to fantasy worlds, his work draws attention to how digital technologies, from 3D modeling to machine learning, reshape our perception of the world around us.

In his long-time collaboration with Niio, Tanchum has presented numerous artworks that we are now gradually collecting in a series of solo artcasts, offering a glimpse into the many facets of his artistic practice. In this interview we dive a little deeper into the main subjects of his work.

Ronen Tanchum. Particle Forest, 2022

Your work is characterized by an interest in nature and natural phenomena, particularly the behavior of fluids. This is obviously related to your work in the film industry, but if you look at it from the perspective of your artistic research, what does nature as a subject and fluid mechanics as a tool bring to your art practice?

Yes, this is the DNA of my artworks and what they convey. Ever since I learned computer graphics for the first time and had access to 3D software, some 20 years ago –when I was 16– I was trying to learn the software and to make the computer create something that is believable. This notion always brought me back to study the real world. So, I had to carefully observe the world around me, from the little imperfections of a corner of wall that needs to be reproduced synthetically, to complex natural behaviors that need to be recreated digitally in order to create realistic content. This required a lot of work, but additionally it was not only about making the recreation realistic, but rather a hyperreal, exaggerated reality that made the content visually attractive and engaging. 

“Instead of starting with nothing (a blank canvas) and adding on to it, I start with a lot of chaotic data and I shape it little by little, tweaking the algorithms, refining, and testing again and again until I reach a result that I’m satisfied with.”

During my whole career as a specialist in 3D technologies and simulations I had to recreate a lot of natural effects synthetically, so that they are used in key moments of Hollywood films, where reality is presented as a spectacle. For instance, an effect of clouds covering the sky and then dissipating, that has a narrative role in the film, so it has to be created in a way that looks as realistic as possible while also supporting the narrative. I worked with many natural phenomena, like waterfalls and tornadoes to rain, snowfall, and fire, and I found that the possibility of reproducing these phenomena synthetically within the machine was fascinating. So I continued to explore these technologies while also playing with the boundaries of what is real and what is not, and the way that natural forces and elements behave. Exploring these techniques led me to a deep understanding of the human role in the synthetic reproduction of nature, and how we do not simply reproduce what we observe, but we interpret it. We play with it, we make it more expressive, we manipulate the behavior of the elements, time, and natural forces to give a dramatic quality and visual appeal to something as mundane as a splash of water from a bucket on the floor. 

So my artistic practice has focused on exploring the creative possibilities of reproducing natural elements and landscapes, flora and vegetation synthetically through different technologies,  programming languages, and mediums. Using computer algorithms to create these simulations of nature is quite a challenge in itself, because instead of starting with nothing (a blank canvas) and adding on to it, I start with a lot of chaotic data and I shape it little by little, tweaking the algorithms, refining, and testing again and again until I reach a result that I’m satisfied with. I find this practice very challenging and encapsulating in ways that I could never do with a pen, paper, and ink, or with a canvas, a brush, and paint. I design systems that have a life of their own once the program starts running, so there is also a sense of creating a situation with a certain degree of control, and also letting go.

Ronen Tanchum. FEELS I, 2021

You have mentioned how the depiction of reality in films leads to spectacularity, and that is also something we frequently find nowadays in digital art, with large installations and projections in public spaces, that lead to equating digital art with a visual spectacle. As an artist, how do you see this expectation of digital art being eye-catching?

That’s an interesting question. Certainly, spectacularity is a tool to tell your story and convey or emote feelings. I do believe that art needs to be felt more than understood, and I also see that the spectacular aspect of digital art is there by choice. As a medium that is relatively new and exciting to a large audience, digital art is often perceived in this way, as something that catches your attention, and for artists that is a powerful tool to have in their hands. So, I understand the pull, both for artists and the audience, to expect spectacularity from digital art, but I also don’t feel that this is a necessity. Digital art doesn’t always have to cause a strong visual impact or be displayed in large LED screens. Of course, screens are its habitat, it is where digital art is meant to be experienced. We’re moving into a new age where art is no longer only on canvases, or sculptures, but on different mediums, and also everywhere. The screen is often understood as a digital canvas, but that is only the beginning, there will be many more ways to experience art digitally. 

In my practice, I would say that it is not so much about making art that draws attention, but using the medium in interesting ways. Exploring the possibilities of software, of generative algorithms, 3D modeling, artificial neural networks and so on, to question our reality and our experience of nature is what feels interesting to me.

“Certainly, spectacularity is a tool to tell your story and convey or emote feelings. But digital art doesn’t always have to cause a strong visual impact or be displayed in large LED screens.”

Another aspect that you’ve mentioned is the idea of control. You sometimes work with software that lets you control every element, every detail and behavior. But you also work with generative algorithms and machine learning programs, with which there is more of a “dialogue.” How do you balance your creative authorship with the outputs of these autonomous systems?

A lot of my practices are procedural and generative in nature. So even when I want to create a specific thing and aim for a certain output, I test a lot of methods to get there, naturally. I’ve been building systems and algorithms before releasing them as long format and as something with the aspect of randomness in them before, and I often work with JavaScript, and GLSL, to create long format, generative art, which is not AI. It is a way to release control and let go, so it’s interesting, because at first, I start building towards something and then I find myself thinking about variations of that original intention. To give you an example: a random function gives you a different number every time and then you can use that number to perform visual modifications on the artwork. So, for instance, every time some element appears, it can have a different color or a different size or a different shape. And then I use these somewhat random functions in order to create the output. But this output that you’re looking at lives in a spectrum of outputs: every time that you iterate on the algorithm, there will be a different output. How different that new output can be, of course, depends on the degree of so-called “randomness” you give to the system. So, if I want to get a certain degree of control over this spectrum of outputs, I must limit the amount of unexpected results that might come out of it.

“Generative art on the blockchain is a match made in heaven because here the algorithm is not only producing an endless amount of random outputs, it is creating a series of artworks that people can own and say «okay, this one belongs to me.»” 

I particularly like this method of working, to experience and be surprised by the interaction with the machine. Working with algorithms gives me an opportunity to do something that is not necessarily static. It could be dynamic, or it could be influenced by something and become interactive, or it could be a data sculpture, using real time data, or a data set that you train, and then play with. This is a really powerful tool: generative art and algorithmic art on the blockchain is a match made in heaven because here the algorithm is not only producing an endless amount of random outputs, it is creating a series of artworks that people can own and say “okay, this one belongs to me.” And that  is really interesting because the outputs become unique, but also part of a series, and the owners of these artworks become part of a community. This generates some very interesting dynamics between the pieces of a collection and the owners of those pieces.

Ronen Tanchum and Ori Ben-Shabat / Phenomena Labs. Rococo, 2023

Continuing with the subject of generative art on blockchain, can you tell us about your experience with the series Rococo? How was the response to these artworks?

Rococo is a project Ori Ben-Shabat and I developed together. It is an exploration of how we can reproduce synthetically digital paintings that represent flowers. Flowers, as you know, can come in many shapes and colors, for instance with six or fifteen petals, and that gives us a lot of possibilities, in the form of functions and numbers for the algorithm. Working with the algorithm we created a type of flower that we liked, and then duplicated it a number of times, introducing variations in the number of flowers, petals, and colors. The code itself describes a bunch of spheres that move in space, and while doing so they draw and create the final painting that you see. It is a similar approach to that of a painter who would choose a brush, and a bit of paint, and then perform a series of movements spreading the paint on a canvas with the brush in order to create the image, the gestures of his hand determining the particular shape of the flowers and a certain style of depiction. 

The response was very good. As you know, when you present generative art on an NFT marketplace, you put the code of the system that creates the artwork on the blockchain, then people can explore what the algorithm does prior to minting. Usually, they can explore and see the spectrum of outputs that the algorithm creates, and then they decide if they want to buy it or not. But they actually don’t know exactly which composition they will obtain, which is in a way the opposite of buying a painting. This process becomes very engaging and very surprising and personal, both to the artist and to the collector. It introduces the element of luck and chance into collecting artwork, which is an interesting way to release art. And it also creates a dynamic within the collection: some will be worth more than others, just because more people like them. This is really interesting, and it could be explored endlessly. So for instance, you can have an algorithm that creates an infinite number of outputs, but then only X amount of them are locked to the blockchain, and only those are what collectors can own. 

Your work easily transitions between photorealistic 3D animations, abstract compositions, and what could be described as digital painting: artworks that explore painting as a compositional and stylistic reference using digital tools. Which of these approaches is more interesting? Which is more challenging?

What interests me is to work with the edges, to play with all of them and transition between them. I am very influenced by both traditional art and contemporary art. So in projects such as Rococo, a major goal was to find a way to use code while simulating something as materially specific and expressive as a brushstroke. This could have very well become a generator of perfectly identifiable, realistic, 3D looking flowers, but with Ori we decided that it was much more interesting to explore what the act of painting looks like and find out how to evoke the level of expression and abstraction that a painter achieves applying painting on a canvas, but using computer software.

Ronen Tanchum. The Expressionists ~ Couple #2, 2020

You have mentioned your collaboration with Ori Ben-Shabat, with whom you work at Phenomena Labs, a studio that creates immersive art experiences. How does the work at Phenomena Labs differ from your individual work as an artist?

I founded Phenomena Labs almost 10 years ago with a mindset of collaborating: on the one hand, to develop a collaborative approach to creating with my friends and on the other hand, to collaborate with clients and art collectors in commissioned work. Basically, anything that I do collaboratively takes place in the context of the studio and is presented under Phenomena Labs as a brand and identity. Ori and I frequently work with other artists, designers, and architects to create immersive installations and generative art. This work is generally addressed at public spaces and large audiences.

Phenomena Labs. Moments in Time, 2023. Jönköping (Sweden)

Moments in Time is a fascinating project from Phenomena Labs that connects an architectural space with its environment through real time data animations, in which we see several recurring elements in your work. Can you tell us more about this project and the possibilities of creating art with real time environmental data?

This is a unique project we’ve worked on throughout 2023. The objective was to create a mirror for the vibrant community that is about to inhabit a building in Jönköping (Sweden). We were approached by our client and the architects and we thought about a piece that is alive, and is inspiring the startup community allocated in that building. On a large screen in the lobby, the artwork displays a series of chapters, different compositions that use data in real time. We chose to use a few different metrics and data points for different visual chapters of the piece. Each data point refers to an aspect of the building and its surroundings, as well as the people inside, in order to visualize how the environment and the human activity in the building can change and evolve over time. We used motion sensing to create visual trails from the movement of people in the lobby, and turned it into a paint brush effect where people apply brush strokes on a digital canvas by walking through the lobby, thus creating a visual composition in real time. Then we used weather information to apply wind turbulence on a set of particles displayed on the screen. And we also introduced real time energy data from the building to create a virtual waterfall that becomes a sort of data visualization of all the energy that is being consumed in the building every day. It was really interesting to see that, for instance, the waterfall flows faster and has a higher volume of water when there’s people in the building, and when they go home, it settles and slows down.

Phenomena Labs. Still from a chapter of Moments in Time, 2023. Jönköping (Sweden)

You state that your work is about trying to connect humans and machines, and reflecting on our dependence on technology. Recently, the launch of Apple’s Vision Pro was greeted by enthusiastic customers who gave the world a glimpse of what is to come: more dependency on our devices, that increasingly shape how we perceive reality. As an artist and professional creator of fantastic digital realities, how do you see this relationship evolving in the future?

The launch of products like Apple’s Vision Pro remind me that in our relationship with technology, there is a constant tension between what we are familiar with and what level of innovation we are ready to adopt. This tension oscillates in cycles, so that when something pushes too much into the unknown or becomes uncertain, such as this possibility of really isolating oneself from the world, then there is a backlash. At this point, people long to go back to a simpler relationship with the environment, and instead of adding more layers of digital content to their surroundings, reconnect with nature, or at least with a calming and comforting view of nature. Finding a balance between the two and making the digital environment more familiar is a challenge that may take more than a generation. 

“For me, the question is how to embrace the better aspects of digital technologies without letting them alienate us from the real world or shape our perception of the environment.”

For me, the question is how to embrace the better aspects of digital technologies without letting them –or those who market them– alienate us from the real world or shape our perception of the environment. In this sense, I intend to explore real time data in my work to let people understand and appreciate the world around them, and at the same time visualize the systems and networks that provide that data. It is important to understand that we live surrounded by systems (natural, legal, informational) that we have to think in terms of the environment and our interactions with others and with these systems. Often disruptive technologies are created thinking only in short-term solutions and specific goals that do not consider the world they will have an impact on. But there will always be a reaction from the world, society, systems, etc. Within this constant tension, and back-and-forth reactions in where gradual change, maybe progress, happens. 

Chun Hua Catherine Dong: “My body is a material for my art”

Pau Waelder

Chun Hua Catherine Dong, Meet Me Halfway – part 1, 2021

A performance and conceptual artist whose work spans different media, Chun Hua Catherine Dong successfully navigates the space between an artistic practice characterized by the physical, bodily presence of the artist in the same space and time as her audience, and another one based on the mediation of digital technologies and a distributed and almost immaterial existence. Dong has taken her performance artworks worldwide, combining action with documentation in the form of photographs and videos that often become artworks on their own. She is also exploring the creative possibilities of VR, AR, and Artificial Intelligence in a series of artworks that are still deeply rooted in her research on gender, memory, identity, body, and presence.

Dong has exhibited their works at The International Digital Art Biennial Montreal (BIAN),  The International Biennial of Digital Arts of the Île-de-France (Némo), MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, Kaunas Biennial, The Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne in France, Quebec City Biennial, Foundation PHI for Contemporary Art, Canadian Cultural Centre Paris, Museo de la Cancillería in Mexico City, The Rooms Museum, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, DongGong Museum of Photograph in South Korea, He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen, Hubei Museum of Fine Art in Wuhan, The Aine Art Museum in Tornio, Bury Art Museum in Manchester, Art Museum at University of Toronto, Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Art Gallery of Hamilton, among others. She is represented by  Galerie Charlot in Paris.

The artist recently presented the artcast Meet Me Halfway, which collects four videos from her multi-channel VR video installation that explores the perception of time and space in virtual reality and the inability to return to the present from searching the inner world.

Experience Chun Hua Catherine Dong’s immersive VR spaces in Meet Me Halfway

Chun Hua Catherine Dong, The Lost Twelve Years (2015)

As a Chinese-born, Montreal-based artist, the issues of identity, culture, belonging, and distance are present in your life and your work as well. In our globalized world, these issues can sometimes be overlooked, or else exoticized and clichéd, even demanding of an artist with a mixed cultural background to address them. Would you say that there is still a dominant Western perspective on multiculturalism, and if so, how do you address it in your work? 

This is a very interesting question. I can’t speak for others, but it’s natural for me to explore these topics. Living in a different cultural context often prompts questions about one’s identity.  If I lived in China, I would probably never feel the need to deal with these difficult issues. But I immigrated to Canada a long time ago. I need to reconnect with my roots because I feel that something that nurtured me has faded and been forgotten. It is important for me to renew it from time to time. I addressed this issue in my earlier performances. For example, in my performance The Lost Twelve Years (2015) I use a Chinese teapot to pour ink over my head and a squirt gun to shoot ink to my heart and head, which are actions that force me to remember who I am.  

“After living as a «living sculpture» for a long time, I came to the conclusion that it is wise to keep life and art separate.  Now, I state that «I use my body as my material in my artwork» rather than «my body is my artwork.»”

Your body is a key element in your work, both as “the body of the artist”, representing you as an individual and your personal experiences, and as “a female body,” addressing issues of the representation of women in a patriarchal society. When you conceive your performances, how do you weigh these two possibilities?

As a performance artist, my “body as an Asian woman” and my “body as an artwork” frequently change. When I first started doing performance, I considered performance as an attitude, and that “life is a performance, performance is life.” The two were inseparable; thus, my life was always in a performance/artwork mode, or “living sculpture” mode. But I realized that I was quite weary of being my own artwork. It is also harmful to one’s mental health and sanity because the concept “life is art and art is life” could mess up your life. After living as a “living sculpture” for a long time, I came to the conclusion that “Life can be a performance, but performance is not life—at least, not my entire life.”  It is wise to keep the two separate.  Later, I use the statement that “I use my body as my material in my artwork” rather than “my body is my artwork.”

Chun Hua Catherine Dong, Skin Deep (2014-2020). Photographs with Augmented Reality

In your work, we can find on the one hand a direct approach to the body, naked, as a canvas or an object, and on the other hand the body veiled by masks and disguises. What do you find more interesting about playing with the different levels of displaying and hiding the body, maybe also seducing or unsettling the viewer’s gaze?

This is a very interesting question. Yes, there were naked bodies in my early performance work. For me, the body is a blank canvas, and any type of clothing or even makeup can give “identity” to it. Perhaps viewers perceive me as vulnerable when they see me naked, but I don’t feel that way. Being naked doesn’t challenge me but rather challenges the viewers. The power of the naked body in performance art lies in its rawness, it’s a pure form of art. Anyway, who isn’t born naked?

“For me, the body is a blank canvas: any type of clothing or even makeup can give “identity” to it. Being naked doesn’t challenge me but rather challenges the viewers.”

In the digital world, physical distance, the presence of the human body, and even identity tend to be blurred or seemingly erased. For instance, your work Meet Me Halfway is strikingly different from your performance work in both aesthetics and the presence of the body, yet you have incorporated your body in the form of camera movements. How do you navigate the differences between an immaterial digital environment and the materiality of your performances?

Meet Me Halfway (2021) was created during the pandemic. According to reports, many Asian people were attacked in public places during the pandemic. I was afraid of going out. If I had to go out, I wore a big hat and mask to cover myself because I didn’t want to be recognized. This situation subconsciously influenced my work Meet Me Halfway, which is why my body is absent in this work but just camera movements.  I became interested in VR during the pandemic as well because I discovered that VR can help me to escape from reality. VR space is less political, at least, you won’t get physically attacked. You can build your own virtual world in VR and visit it from time to time whenever you want. It is interesting that you mentioned immateriality in the digital environment. Actually, performance art is often regarded as an immaterial practice as well. Because of its immaterial nature, it is very easy for me to shift my practice from performance art to digital art.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong, Mulan (2022)

Following with the previous question, Mulan addresses gender identity through a folk heroine placed in an underwater landscape. What seems at first a scene of pure fantasy contains numerous symbolisms. How would say that a viewer immersed in this VR space can connect with the message you want to convey? 

Gender is an important component of my work. Mulan (2022) was inspired by Beijing Opera. You are right. “Mulan” depicts a pure fantasy scene because Beijing Opera is my fantasy. I used to dream of wearing the Beijing Opera costume and performing on stage when I was little. But Beijing Opera is a form of high art, not many people have a chance to access it. For me, art provides a space for asking questions and discovering; I’d be very happy to see that people have questions when they experience Mulan, such as, “Why Mulan? Why are there two Mulan? What outfit does Mulan wear? What are the names of the sea creatures surrounding Mulan?” If people ask questions, they will find answers.  Sometimes I realize that I am more interested in how viewers feel and think about my work rather than telling them what my work is about. Viewers’ different interpretations enrich and expand the artwork itself.

“I am more interested in how viewers feel and think about my work rather than telling them what my work is about. Viewers’ different interpretations enrich and expand the artwork itself.”

The mise en scène is an important element in a performance, which in your work translates to carefully set up photographs, installations, and VR environments. What is the role of space in your work across the many different media you use?

Mise en scene is a stage. Most of my works are staged. In performance, “mise en scene” can be in any place, including public, private, virtual, or imaginary spaces. Camera frame is a type of stage too because activities must occur within the frame in order for the camera to capture them. If we apply this concept to traditional art, a plinth is a stage for sculptures, and a wall serves as a stage for two-dimensional artworks.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong, Meet Me Halfway (2021). Four-channel VR video installation. Exhibition view at Foundation Phi.

You have stated that you initially wanted to become a painter, but found that performance was more expressive. Yet there is a painterly quality to much of your work, particularly in photography and digital art, besides the use of paint in some of your performances. Which would you say is your approach to painting nowadays? 

Yes, I wanted to be a painter before. But painting has its own limitations because you work in a two-dimensional space, and you must sometimes wait for it to dry before applying another layer. Performance is an expressive medium, I never wanted to go back to painting after I fell in love with performance. My work does have painterly quality, I guess it is because of my painting background. Regarding how I approach painting nowadays, I think it is VR drawing/ painting. It doesn’t limit you in a 2D space like traditional painting, but rather you work in a 3D space. When you draw a line in VR, it is a 3D line, and you can zoom in and out to see your drawing/painting in 3D perspective, which fascinates me.

“I approach painting through VR. It doesn’t limit you in a 2D space like traditional painting, but rather you work in a 3D space. When you draw a line in VR, it is a 3D line, and you can zoom in and out to see your drawing/painting in 3D perspective, which fascinates me.”

In your recent work Out of the Blue, you address your childhood and feature a teddy bear character that has been present in your work over the last three years. Can you tell us more about this character? You frequently use 3D printing techniques to create sculptures, why have you chosen this technique over more traditional forms of modeling and sculpting?

The teddy bear is a symbol of childhood.  With its eyes closed, the bear refuses to look at the world, rather prefers to dream. In my digital art practice, I began with AR and VR, and then 3D printing. It is very natural for me to use 3D printing to make sculptures because 3D printing is a type of digital fabrication. 3D printing is also a practical choice. Traditional sculpture requires a large studio space and special tools, which I don’t have. On the other hand, 3D printing doesn’t require much space; simply having a table or a desk at home is sufficient. Traditionally, 3D printing has been used to make molds or prototypes for further work. However, I embrace its rawness. I use 3D printing as the raw material for my finished artwork, with no additional touches such as sanding or painting. The unpolished raw nature of 3D printing fascinates me because it captures the essence of the technological and digital process, demystifying how artwork is made.

Chun Hua Catherine Don. Solo Exhibition: At the Edge of Two Worlds. TRUCK Contemporary Art, 2022

You have recently started experimenting with AI, first in the photographic series For You I Will Be an Island, and lately creating animations of what appear to be underwater creatures. Can you tell me about your experience with this technology? Which are your objectives when using AI programs? How does working with these programs differ from your VR and 3D animations?

I like AI. For me, AI is more than simply a tool; it’s like having an assistant. I understand that people have concerns about AI. I completely respect that. However, as an artist with limited resources and financial assistance, AI helps me save time and money when creating artwork.  For example, in For You I Will Be an Island (2023) I printed 23 pieces of 2.5 m x 2.5 m AI generated graphics; I can’t imagine how I would do this without AI. I could paint 23 pieces of 2.5 m × 2.5 m paintings, but how long would it take? Or I could use photographs, but where would I find such locations to photograph? I probably can find them if I have the financial freedom to travel around the world to look for them, but how long would it take?  Now AI is able to create animation and 3D objects, although it is not there yet, it is still very exciting. Animation and 3D modeling are often very time consuming and costly. If I have a budget, of course, I prefer to work with creative people, but if I don’t, AI is a good way to go.

Chun Hua Catherine Dong, For You I Will Be An Island (2023)

As we are starting the year (in the Gregorian calendar, and soon the Chinese New Year), it begs the question: what are you currently working on, and which projects do you have in store for the coming months?

Thanks! I am very excited that the Chinese New Year is coming soon. This is the year to celebrate the dragon. I am currently working on a public art project with 35 video displays at Place des Arts in Montreal. I am also working on an upcoming solo exhibition at Galerie Charlot in Paris in April. And I will participate in Montreal’s International Digital Art Biennial (BIAN) in May.

“If I have a budget, of course, I prefer to work with creative people, but if I don’t, AI is a good way to go.”

Mario Klingemann: into the wilderness of AI

Pau Waelder

Mario Klingemann, born in Laatzen, Germany in 1970, is an artist who integrates algorithms and artificial intelligence into his creative process. His artistic exploration delves into visual expressions, linguistics, and our intricate interactions with technology. Klingemann’s creations, which primarily utilize generative adversarial networks (GANs), manifest as screen-based artworks or interactive installations. These installations captivate audiences with a never-ending array of visual experiences, where the AI models crafted by Klingemann generate portraits, abstracted figures, or textual content in real-time.

Recognized as a pioneering figure in the realm of AI-art, Klingemann’s contributions include a tenure as Artist in Residence at Google Arts and Culture from 2015 to 2018. His collaborations extend to notable institutions like the British Library and the New York Public Library. In 2018, he was honored with the prestigious Lumen Prize Gold Award. Klingemann’s work has been showcased at eminent art venues globally, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Barbican Centre in London, and the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.

In this article, based on the text written for the exhibition Latent Spaces that I curated for La Bibi Gallery (Mallorca, Spain) featuring the work of Mario Klingemann and the Finnish duo Grönlund-Nisunen, I offer a brief overview of the main subjects in Klingemann’s work. On the occasion of this exhibition, Niio is presenting a selection of artworks by Mario Klingemann, courtesy of Onkaos.

Explore the wilderness of AI in Mario Klingemann’s artworks

Mario Klingemann. Sirius A, 2019. Courtesy of Onkaos.

Latent space is the position relation of information

Borrowing László Moholy-Nagy’s reflections about architecture in his book The New Vision (1927), Klingemann describes the term “latent space,” commonly used in machine learning processes, as “the position relation of information.” Latent spaces are not physical spaces, but rather a way to describe how an artificial intelligence system processes the information it takes from a data set and creates clusters of items that resemble each other, according to a set of variables. Klingemann explores latent spaces as realms of endless possibilities, looking for the unexpected, the rare and weird, that which pushes his creativity further. For him, AI is not a technology that replaces the artist, but one that provides creators with new ways to develop their talent. In his work, we find endless processes fueled by “untamed” artificial neural networks that generate uncanny images and responses. Faced with this creative otherness, one must find one’s position as a viewer whose aesthetic and narrative expectations are challenged.

Nowadays, the most popular AI applications excel at creating realistic depictions of things we have seen thousands of times, or unconventional combinations of familiar images (such as a dog dressed as an astronaut riding a horse on the Moon) with impressive accuracy. However, Klingemann finds this approach predictable and boring, and aims to drive the system into the unpredictable: “[the popularization of] one-click AI art tools… forces me to look for areas out there that I still consider “wilderness” and to learn more about what it is that we humans find truly interesting and captivating.” The Hyperdimensional Attractions series addresses the unexpected by applying a three-body problem to a latent space, resulting in a triptych showing images that change according to how the feature vectors they represent “orbit” around each other. What the viewer sees is a triptych of familiar images always mutating into weird shapes and amalgamations: it is precisely these unsettling figures that interest Klingemann in his exploration of the fringes of representation. 

Mario Klingemann. Three Latent Body Problem, 2023. Courtesy of Onkaos.

Datasets and appropriation

Generative neural networks are trained using datasets, and therefore the content of these datasets is crucial. Artists such as Anna Ridler create their own datasets by making hundreds of drawings or taking thousands of photographs, while others incorporate their own writings into a machine learning model in order to create an alter ego of sorts, as do Mark Amerika and Sasha Stiles. Mario Klingemann carries out a particular form of appropriation by using datasets of thousands of images or, more particularly, taking Hyeronimus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights (1490-1500) as the base material for The Garden of Ephemeral Details. In this artwork, an autonomous AI machine made of several generative adversarial networks (GANs) constantly reinterprets the famous triptych by adding new forms to its unsettlingly surreal iconography. Klingemann uses Bosch’s masterpiece as a field of algorithmic interpretation, forcing the machine to explore the “wilderness” of artistic creation by providing a peculiar data set in the form of the Dutch artist’s singular combination of religious imagery and unbridled fantasy. The resulting artwork thus becomes an experiment in machine hallucination and artificial imagination.

Mario Klingemann. The Garden of Ephemeral Details Reserve #2, 2020. Courtesy of Onkaos.

Motion and process

Moholy-Nagy was one of the pioneering artists exploring kinetic sculpture and the use of light and industrial materials in assemblages and installations. Kinetic art also influenced early algorithmic art, with pioneers such as Manfred Mohr seeking to portray motion in abstract generative artworks and finding in personal computers a tool to create visual compositions in perpetual transformation. Mario Klingemann follows this tradition by using generative adversarial networks to create images that are not static but constantly and seamlessly morph into new shapes, accentuating the fact that the process takes precedence over the finished product. The Hyperdimensional Attractions series and The Garden of Ephemeral Details clearly show this particular decision. The former explore the position relations of feature vectors in the latent space, the resulting images becoming a way to visualize these relations. The latter deconstructs Bosch’s triptych in order to portray the effort of the machine as it tries to stretch its imagination.

Mario Klingemann. Imposture Series – The Butcher’s Son, 2017. Courtesy of Onkaos.

Latency

Motion and process imply change taking place in a certain time and space (real or virtual). Change, in turn, implies that something is about to happen. There is expectation, as one waits for the next step in the process. Paradoxically, latency is found in Klingemann’s prints, static images that nevertheless potently evoke transformation. The Imposture series explores the representation of the human body through AI models, resulting in six compositions that the artist selected from 50,000 images generated by the program. Some of the images vaguely remind of paintings by Francis Bacon but have a decidedly non-human quality to them: they lack the natural notions of the shape of the human body and the empathy that a human artist would feel. In an even more disturbing turn, the Neural Decay series evoke early photographic portraiture, again in a form that distills otherness and the uncanny. These artworks seem in the process of dissolving, their shapes blending into each other, as if they were about to turn into an amorphous substance or simply vanish. As we observe and wait for this to happen, a space of latency opens before our eyes.

References

Jochen Gutsch (2021). “Words behave like pixels and sentences like pictures”: An interview with Mario Klingemann. Goethe Institut.

Mario Klingemann (2023). Latent Talent. A*Desk. Critical Thinking.

Antoine Schmitt: coding movement

Pau Waelder

Paris-based artist Antoine Schmitt describes himself as a “heir of kinetic art and cybernetic art,” aptly indicating the two main aspects of his work: the interest in all processes of movement, and the use of computers to create generative and interactive artworks. With a background as a programming engineer in human computer relations and artificial intelligence, his career spans almost three decades and is characterized by a combination of interactive installations, process-based abstract pieces, and performances. He has collaborated with a wide range of professionals from the fields of music, dance, architecture, literature, and cinema. He also performs in live concerts and writes about programmed art.

Schmitt’s award-winning artworks have been exhibited internationally, in prestigious venues such as the Centre Georges Pompidou and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and world-renown festivals Sonar (Barcelona), and Ars Electronica (Linz). A selection of video recordings from his generative works have been featured in our curated art program, including the artcasts Unvirtual Art Fair (Paris) and Possibles, which was exhibited at the ISEA2022 Barcelona Symposium. The artist kindly answered a series of questions about the concepts and processes behind his work.

Antoine Schmitt and Franck Vigroux. ATOTAL. Audiovisual concert, 2021

From your early works to the latest installations, there is a constant interest in the relationship between the artwork and the viewer, and more generally between a human and a machine, that often become intimate, connected to emotions and to physical proximity. What do you find interesting about this strange relationship between an individual and a machine, or an apparently sentient entity?

Programming has always been for me a means to approach reality, by recreating it. I consider programming as a radically new material, in art and in general, because of its active nature: programs are processes embedded in reality and can react to it and act upon it. This specificity allows me to recreate programmatically aspects of nature that interest me. One of the most complex entities in reality (known so far) is the human being. Many of my artworks stage a programmed artificial entity that embodies a deep aspect of human nature. These artworks act for me as mirrors for the viewer, a way to question deep human mechanisms or ways of being, like desire, curiosity, language, conflict, gravity, etc… not forgetting that humans are also animals, and are also bodies in space. 

This approach also allows me to reflect on the way we humans are programmed, by laws, evolution, society, etc… My artworks are, like deep science fiction, very much fueled by philosophy, physics, metaphysics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, etc… Using programming to create artificial entities, more or less intelligent, more or less sentient, but all embodying dynamic aspects of human life, allows me to focus each artwork on a specific concept or aspect of human nature. They are forms of living caricatures that are all the more effective.

“I consider programming as a radically new material because of its active nature: programs are processes embedded in reality and can react to it and act upon it.”

Your work is characterized both by its interactivity and the generative processes that bring it to life. What do you find most interesting about these two types of processes, the one carried out by an autopoietic generative artwork and the one carried out by an interactive installation?

All my artworks are active and exist in real time, i.e. the same time as the spectator. Some artworks are not sensitive to the real world, they are not interactive, they live their life in their own universe, and we watch them like we would watch a strange animal in an aquarium. With these artworks, the main link between the audience and the artwork is through empathy. By projecting oneself in the existential universe of the artwork, the spectator recognizes and feels the situation. It is the same process as with movies and books, with the additional dimension of the real time: with realtime artworks the spectator knows, or feels, that what happens happens here and now. It is not a recording. This gives a different dimension to the empathy, like when watching a live performance which also happens here and now.

Antoine Schmitt. Systemic. Interactive installation, 2010

With interactive artworks, I usually want to question the behaviors and inner mechanisms of the audience themselves. It is the actions of the viewer which are the artwork, I create the dynamic situation in which the viewer is immersed and I orient it so as to highlight and question certain deep ways of being. For example, the Systemic (2010), Lignes-mobiles (1999) and La chance (2017) installations draw dynamic arrows on the floor in front of passers-by to question their intention. In Psychic (2007), a text on the wall describes the movements and intentions of the spectators in the exhibition space (“Somebody is coming”).

I tend to adopt a minimalist approach: I don’t use an artistic dimension (color, figure, interactivity) unless it is mandatory for the artwork. So I don’t use interactivity unless the artwork’s subject is the spectator themselves.

“In my interactive installations it is the actions of the viewer which are the artwork, I create the dynamic situation in which the viewer is immersed and I orient it so as to highlight and question certain deep ways of being.”

Since the beginning of your career, you have collaborated with performing artists, among which composers such as Vincent Epplay, Franck Vigroux, and Jean-Jacques Birgé, performers such as Hortense Gauthier, and choreographers such as Jean-Marc Matos and Anne Holst. How did these collaborations take place? What have they brought to your own work and your creative process?

I have two different approaches to performance, whether I’m on stage or not. When I work with professional performers who use their body and actions as their main material, we craft situations where the human entity is confronted to an artificial one. This allows us to precisely stage the encounter and focus precisely on certain aspects, which become the subject of the performance. The situation usually centers on the concept of an encounter with an “other” and on the modalities of dialog. In Myselves with Jean-Marc Matos, it is about exploring various modes of dialog like imitation, fight or fusion. In CliMax with Hortense Gauthier, it is about finding mutual pleasure. In these setups, the mirror effect happens between the performer and the artificial entity rather than with the audience. The audience is watching the encounter. The artificial creature becomes an actor of the performance, in the spirit of performance: taking risks in a staged delicate situation. 

Antoine Schmitt and Hortense Gauthier. CliMax (Préliminaires), 2018

When I am on stage, I usually play live images, using a videogame-like visual instrument that I program myself and that recreates a specific abstract though consistent live universe, while the other performer plays live music. We are in a situation of semi-improvisation and we create an audio-visual temporal exploratory journey around a specific theme (the birth of shapes in Tempest, the cohabitations of multiple timelines in Chronostasis, totalities in ATOTAL, flows in Cascades, etc…). As a performer, I appreciate sharing the energy of the present moment with the audience, especially while being delved into an artificial universe and struggling with it, which the audience can feel.

Antoine Schmitt. Generative Quantum Ballet 21 Video Recording, 2022

Besides the performing arts, another strong reference in your work is scientific research: you often mention theories from mathematics or physics as the conceptual ground for your pieces. What does science bring to your work? How do you build a bridge between the scientific method and your creative process?

I am very sensitive to the deep and strong laws of the universe that math and physic theories can give us, as they allow me to both approach our reality and imagine other possible realities. What is interesting with these laws is that they are programmable so I can recreate them using programs, thus focusing on deep mechanisms, to stage them or alter them. For example, in the Tempest show, I created a universe containing many of the forces of our universe but also invented forces, thus opening the doors to parallel universes.

I often say that science and art are interested in the same subject : the crack that exists between reality and our abstraction of it. This crack is our curse as human beings. Animals do not feel this pain but as soon as one has the gift of abstraction, the distance between what we abstract and what is, is the source of all mental suffering. Science tries to close that crack by explaining as much as possible through theories and language, more and more precisely, even though it is an impossible task (as was demonstrated in the 20th century by the scientists Heisenberg and Gödel). On the contrary, Art delves in the depths of the crack, exploring all its modalities, playing with all the emotions that stem from it. And the narrower the crack, the deeper it is.

“I often say that science and art are interested in the same subject: the crack that exists between reality and our abstraction of it.”

The aspects of your work that we have previously addressed all point to a main subject which are the processes of movement, as clearly highlighted in your artist’s statement. These processes are explored in a wide range of contexts, from the quantum realm to urban societies, and among different actors, be it people, bodies, or particles. Why are these processes so important to your work, and which of these contexts is more rich, engaging or interesting to you?

I think that I’ve always had this abstract approach to reality which can be synthesized in the question “why does it move like this?”. I started with a rather scientific approach through my studies as an engineer, and when I decided to become an artist, I continued to explore this question in a different way. It is an analytical approach, a way of looking at the world, and a way to question it. I frankly appreciate all the dimensions of it and will continue to explore them, but I think that the strongest and the ones that give me the biggest satisfaction are the most abstract approaches, the ones that are the most remote from reality and still apply to many aspects of reality, existing or perceived. Black Square (2016), where a flock of white pixels try to enter an invisible square and bounce on it thus revealing it, can lead to multiple interpretations. It is a fundamental delicate situation. 

Antoine Schmitt. Black Square Video Recording, 2016

The signature element in your work, the pixel, is introduced in Le Pixel Blanc (1996). There, you describe it as “a minimal artificial presence… something that almost did not appear, but that still would be «there».” Over time, the pixel has gained more presence and become as much an object, a presence, and an absence, as part of a flow or the representation of an individual. How would you describe the evolution of your conception of this basic element and its influence on your work?

The pixel and the square are omnipresent in my work. I like my artworks to be minimal, like mathematical theorems. This naturally led to the pixel, the minimal visual element in the universe of the computer. A pixel is a small square, and by enlarging it, you get a large square. And like Malevich, I consider the square like the symptom of the human being’s power and curse: the ability of abstraction These two elements are the basis of most of my artworks. What I work on is their movement, relatively to the space around them, or relatively to the other elements. They are minimal but open to all the possibles, through their movements and the infinitely rich possibilities of programming.

“The pixel and the square are minimal but open to all the possibles, through their movements and the infinitely rich possibilities of programming.”

Your career spans almost three decades, in which you have explored many different formats of creation and distribution, from multimedia projects on CD-ROM, to Internet-based artworks, interactive installations, video mapping, screen-based pieces, software art, live performances, generative cinema, NFTs, and much more. What is your opinion on the way technology has evolved over these decades and how it has influenced art making? How have you experienced this period of constant innovation and obsolescence?

These have been very exciting years, for one because computers are more and more pervasive (we all now have a powerful computer in our pocket) and also because art made with computers is now widely accepted. It is therefore easier to create programmed artworks and to show them. The technology is more easily available, the distribution channels — in the wide sense — are numerous and the audience is listening.

On the other hand, technology is nowadays mainly used for advertising, surveillance, entertainment and manipulation of opinions, which is a social problem and has an effect on art made with technology. Many approaches build upon or react to these social dimensions, which are all needed and interesting but leave little room for the more conceptual and radical approaches. This may be true for all forms of art, but it is stronger with technological art as technology so much shapes our society these days.

Antoine Schmitt. FaçadeLifeGrandPalais. Generative mapping at the Grand Palais in Paris, 2016

What is interesting also is that I think that no new concept was really born in the field since Alan Turing invented the computer, the “universal machine”. All computer-based technologies are avatars of this unique concept. This can probably account for the fact that my artworks have not radically changed since I started. My work does not reflect on the social impacts of technology on society, nor are impacted by the various technological “innovations” and obsolescence. It is minimal so does not make use of the innovations toward more “power”, and it is rather rooted deeply in the concepts of the universal machine which have not changed : with a universal machine, all thinkable processes are programmable.

“Art made with technology often builds upon its social dimensions, which are all needed and interesting but leave little room for the more conceptual and radical approaches.”

You were already working with generative text twenty years ago, in The Automatic Critic (1999). What is your opinion about the current trend among artists to use machine learning models such as ChatGPT?

Although I am quite impressed by the quality of the interactions of users with ChatGPT (I thought that this level of quality would take more years to happen), the generative approach on these systems are in the normal continuation of the original concept of the computer. We are at the stage of imitation: these algorithms generate media that look like media created by humans, as the central mechanism of neural networks is pattern recognition and pattern generation, whether it is text, images, music, reasoning, etc… This is quite fascinating for users and it is similar to the caricatural mirror effect that I was referring to at the beginning. The art, or more generally the forms of expression, created by these algorithms in imitation of ours are a mirror to our forms of expression and thus question them.

But art is intention and responsibility. These two notions are still unique to humans. But maybe one day, we will be able to create an algorithm able to feel pain, express it with intention towards its fellow humans and take responsibility for it. There is no theoretical impossibility for this in the theory of the universal machine and I look forward to it.

In the meantime, as an artist, the most interesting aspect of AI systems remains for me the creation of biased algorithms which focus on some dimension of human nature, like Deep Love (2017) which answers all questions with “I don’t know, but I love you.”

Antoine Schmitt and Franck Vigroux. Tempest. Audiovisual concert, 2013

You entered the NFT scene in 2021 with Buy Me! a particularly conceptual, and generative piece. What has the NFT market brought to your practice? Has it influenced your production? Have you found new forms of creation or sources of inspiration, beyond its commercial dimension?

It took me some time to understand that the main new concept behind the NFT market boom was the perspective of financial profit, for collectors and for artists. This is the reason I created the satirical piece Buy Me! (2021), which embodies an algorithm desperately trying to convince its viewers to buy it, using language techniques inspired by advertising and psychological manipulation. It is a piece on the processes of marketing.

Apart from greed, the NFT market has opened the field of computer art to a new audience, which was really interesting, but I am eager to see the fusion of the traditional art market with NFT seen as a new way to buy and collect artworks.

Antoine Schmitt. The Fall of Leviathan. Interactive installation, 2021. Photo: Quentin Chevrier

You recently quoted the mathematical theory of catastrophes to describe the year that has begun and may bring sudden change, positive or negative. How does this year look for you? Which upcoming projects can you share with us?

I am very excited to start a collaboration with the DAM Projects gallery in Berlin. Its owner, Wolf Lieser, has been involved in computer art for a few decades and I look forward to working with him and his team. We will start with a solo show next autumn, with a selection of historical works and new artworks.

I am also very excited by two new live audiovisual performances, Videoscope and Nacht, with Franck Vigroux, which are in the making, and that will tour the world along with the existing performances (Melbourne, Gijón, San Francisco, etc..).

It was never about replacing the artist: AI and post-creativity

Pau Waelder

The following text is an excerpt from my contribution to the book The Meaning of Creativity in the Age of AI, edited by Raivo Kelomees, Varvara Guljajeva, and Oliver Laas (Tallinn: EKA, 2022). The volume is focuses on critical observations of the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence in the field of the arts and includes contributions by artists, art professionals, and scholars Varvara Guljajeva, Chris Hales, Mar Canet Solà, Jon Karvinen, Luba Elliot, Oliver Laas, Raivo Kelomees, Mauri Kaipainen, Pia Tikka, and Sabine Himmelsbach.

The book, which addresses key questions currently being debated around AI systems such as DALL-E 2 and Chat GPT, has been recently made available as a free PDF.

Cover of the book The Meaning of Creativity in the Age of AI (EKA, 2022)

Can you teach your machine to draw?

On 5th February 1965, during the opening of Georg Nees’ exhibition of algorithmic art at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart, there was an exchange between the engineer and an artist who asked him provocatively if he could teach the computer to draw the same way he did. Nees replied that, given a precise description, he could effectively write a program that would produce drawings in the artist’s style (Nake, 2010, p.40). His response echoes the conjecture that had given birth to the field of artificial intelligence ten years earlier: that “every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it” (Moor, 2006, p.87). It should be noted that, at least at this point, the machine is not meant to think or create, but simulate. In his seminal paper from 1950, Alan Turing already suggested that computers could perform an “imitation game” (later known as the Turing Test) in which the aim was to mimic human intelligence to the point of seeming human to an external observer (Turing, 1950).

Therefore, what Nees asserted is that the computer could create a successful imitation of the artist’s work. The exchange between Nees and the artist did not go well, as the engineer’s vision of a computable art seemed to threaten the superiority of artistic creativity. Upset and resentful, the artist and his colleagues left the room, with philosopher Max Bense trying to appease them by calling the art made with computers “artificial” (Nake, 2010, p.40) – as opposed, one might think, to a “natural” art made by human artists. The need for this distinction denotes the uneasy relationship between artists and their tools, the latter supposedly having no agency at all, being mere instruments in the skilled hands of the artist.

The computer introduced an unprecedented level of autonomy: the artist only needed to write a set of instructions, the program did the rest.

Certainly, there had been some room for randomness and uncontrolled processes to emerge in the different artistic practices that had succeeded each other during the 20th century, but until that point creativity was unquestionably anthropocentric, with the artist (or their assistants), at the centre of the creation of every artwork. The computer introduced an unprecedented level of autonomy: the artist only needed to write a set of instructions, the program did the rest. This was challenging for artists at a time when few had seen a computer and even fewer knew how to write a program or understood what it could do.

Vera Molnar. Untitled. Plotter drawing. Ink on paper, 1968. Courtesy DAM Museum

Despite the profound differences from our current perception of computers, over fifty years later, AI still holds the same fascination and is subject to the same misunderstandings as early computer art. The initial rejection of computer-generated art has turned to uncritical enthusiasm, and the prospect of an art that does not need human artists has been celebrated with a spectacular sale at Christie’s. But the artist was never out of the picture. 

Pioneering computer artist Vera Molnar created her first artworks in the 1960s with a “machine imaginaire”, a program for an imaginary computer that helped her develop a series of combinatorial compositions of geometric forms and colours. In 1968, she started working with a real computer (which back then was only available at a research lab), but she has always stressed that the machine is, to her, nothing but a tool: “The computer helps, but it does not ′do′, does not ′design′ or ′invent′ anything” (Molnar, 1990, p.16).

“The computer helps, but it does not ′do′, does not ′design′ or ′invent′ anything”

Vera Molnar

Another pioneer, Frieder Nake, recalls the experience of creating his first algorithmic drawing in 1965, underscoring his role as the creator of the artwork:

“Clearly: I was the artist! A laughable artist, to be sure. […] But an artist insofar as he – like all other artists – decided when an image was finished or whether it was finished at all and not rather to be thrown away. I developed the general software, wrote the specific program, set the parameters for running the program. […] I influenced the process of materialization by choosing the paper, the pens, and the inks; and I finally selected the pieces that were to be destroyed or to leave the studio to be presented to the public.”

Nake, 2020

Manfred Mohr, one of the first artists to work with computers who, like Molnar, had a background in fine arts instead of mathematics, has frequently stated that his artworks transcend the computational process they are based on: “My artistic goal is reached” he states, “when a finished work can visually dissociate itself from its logical content and convincingly stand as an independent abstract entity” (Mohr, 2002). 

Manfred Mohr. P032.Plotter drawing on paper, 38 x 38 cm., 1970. Courtesy DAM Museum

Algorithmic artists have played with the balance between control and randomness, always keeping a direct involvement in every part of the process of creation, from the code to the final output. The software, however, can be allowed a greater portion of the decision making. This is what Harold Cohen did in 1973 when he developed AARON, a computer program designed to generate drawings on its own, with no visual input, based on a complex series of instructions written by the artist.

Influenced by the ideas that were being discussed at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the time, Cohen sought to understand how images were made. AARON aimed to answer that question by creating drawings that simulated those of a human artist, without human intervention. Cohen stressed AARON was “not an artists’ tool” but “a complete and functionally independent entity, capable of generating autonomously an endless succession of different drawings” (Cohen, 1979). This autonomy led to thinking about AARON in cognitive terms, with Cohen himself stating that the program “has a very clear idea of what it is doing” (Cohen and Cohen, 1995, p.3). For over four decades, the artist kept developing the program, establishing a relationship that he described as the kind of collaboration one would have with another human being:

“AARON is teaching me things all the way down the line. From the beginning, it has always been very much a two-way interaction. I have learned things about what I want from AARON that I could never have learned without AARON”

Cohen and Cohen, 1995, p.12

Cohen’s work prefigured the current applications of AI systems in art making, not only in the way the program worked but also in its role as a collaborator rather than a mere tool. 

Harold Cohen. Arnolfini series. Plotter drawing, ink on paper, 1983. Courtesy DAM Museum

Artists working with artificial neural networks nowadays describe their experience in similar terms to those expressed by AARON’s creator. When Anna Ridler created her own dataset of 200 drawings to train a GAN for her animated film Fall of the House of Usher I (2017), she sought to push the boundaries of creativity by producing an artwork that is a machine generated interpretation of her drawings, which in turn represent scenes from a silent film based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The outcome has led her to wonder where is the “real” artwork, and to doubt the role that the program plays in its making: “I do not see a GAN as a tool like I would think of say a photoshop filter but neither would I see it is as true creative partner. I’m not really quite sure what is is” (Ridler, 2018).

For Patrick Tresset, working with robots that can draw in their own style enables him to distance himself from his work: “I found it very difficult to show my work, as a painter, as an emotional thing, and the distance that we have with the action when you use computers, that you are not directly involved… makes it far easier for me to exhibit” (Upton, 2018).

Memo Akten explores the structure and functioning of artificial neural networks and uses Machine Learning as a form of exploring human thinking: “My main interest,” he states, “is in using machines that learn as a reflection on ourselves, and how we navigate our world, how we learn and ‘understand’, and ultimately how we make decisions and take actions” (Akten, 2018).

Gregory Chatonsky criticizes the perception of the artist as purely autonomous and the machine as a simple tool, while describing his creative process as an interaction with the software that not only generates images but also spurs his imagination: “Working with a neural network to produce images or texts,” he states, “I perceive how my imagination develops, becomes disproportionate and germinates in all directions. I try to adapt to this rhythm, to this breath. It’s almost alive” (Chatonsky, 2020).

Artists have carried out a dialogical relationship with the software they have used, considering it not just an instrument, but a collaborator.

These statements show that artists have carried out a dialogical relationship with the software they have used, considering it not just an instrument, but a collaborator. However, the deeply entrenched perception of the artist as the sole creator of the artwork, in full control of every aspect of the outcome, looms over this partnership insisting that either the machine is to remain a mere tool or it is destined to take over the artist’s role.

Anna Ridler. Mosaic Virus. 3-screen GAN video installation. 2018-2019. Courtesy DAM Museum

Towards post-anthropocentric creativity

The question whether a machine can be creative is recurrently asked as AI systems increase their capabilities and become more sophisticated. Recently developed systems such as CAN (Creative Adversarial Network), which is taught to deviate from the examples it has learnt in order to produce new types of images (Elgammal et. al., 2017), or DALL-E, which can generate images from text descriptions (Ramesh et. al., 2021), illustrate how far computers can go in creating visual content.

CAN has even been used in an attempt to pass the Turing Test, that is, to produce machine-generated art that appears indistinguishable from that created by an artist. The results have been disputed in a study that shows a preference for art made by humans and suggests that what should be asked is not if AI can create art, but whether the art created by AI is worthy (Hong and Ming, 2019).

What should be asked is not if AI can create art, but whether the art created by AI is worthy.

Seen from this perspective, the debate pivots to more practical considerations: what can AI do, and how can it be used? GANs are widely employed by artists nowadays, but they tend to generate the same type of images because of the limitations of the programs and the processors. In this sense, the artificial neural networks are not particularly creative because they do not produce anything that breaks out from a set of established parameters and similar outputs. The creativity stems from how artists use these images and assign them a certain narrative. Therefore, to expect machines to become creative by following problem-solving approaches seems limiting and even counterproductive (Esling and Devis, 2020), given that we don’t even understand how creativity works and cannot translate it into computable formulas.  

Instead of asking whether an AI system can replace an artist, it would be more interesting to consider how artists can expand their creativity using AI. This proposition does not imply considering the artist as the sole creator of the artwork, but moves past this preconception to embrace a notion of creativity that includes all the actors involved, human and non-human.

Guido Segni. Demand Full Laziness. Lot 2018/000022. AI-generated image, 2018.

Jan Løhmann Stephensen suggests the terms “postcreativity” or “postanthropocentric creativity” to challenge the idea of creativity as something that is exclusive to humans and a marker of human “greatness” (Løhmann, 2019). Through the lens of postcreativity, we can consider artworks as the outcome of an interaction between a variety of actors, including humans, objects, systems, and environments. In AI-generated art, this means taking into account all the people, animals, natural environments, institutions, communities, software, networks, etc. that take part, more or less directly, more or less willingly, in the artwork’s making.

This opens up deeper reflection on how the piece is created, as do Anna Ridler and Memo Akten in their examination of the artificial neural networks they use. It also allows artists to distance themselves from the specific output while retaining authorship of the process, as do Patrick Tresset and Guido Segni – the latter currently engaged in a five year project titled Demand Full Laziness (2018-2023), in which he outsources his artistic production to a deep learning algorithm trained with images from his moments of rest. Overall, it emphasises the potential of co-creation between humans and machines, in which computers do not mimic, but expand human creativity. 

Through the lens of postcreativity, we can consider artworks as the outcome of an interaction between a variety of actors, including humans, objects, systems, and environments.

Artificial Intelligence has developed at a growing pace over the past seven decades, and it will continue to do so, bringing new challenges and possibilities for computer-generated art. As several authors point out, AI is currently at a stage equivalent to the daguerrotype in photography (Aguera, 2016; Hertzman, 2018), and it is difficult to predict what novel forms of creativity it will unfold. It might well be, if AI were to reach a stage of consciousness or self-volition, that a program may not be interested in producing a drawing or a photograph and would rather express itself through elegant programming code or a beautiful mathematical equation. Or, maybe it would even create art that is not intended for humans to understand, but is addressed to fellow AIs. 

This text was written in March, 2021

References

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Cohen, B. and Cohen, H., 1995. Conversation: Harold Cohen & Becky Cohen. In: The Robotic Artist: Aaron in Living Color Harold Cohen at The Computer Museum. Boston: The Computer Museum. Available at: https://dam.org/museum/essays_ui/essays/the-robotic-artist/ [Accessed 14 March 2021].

Cohen, H., 1979. What is an image?. AARON’s home, [online]. Available at: http://www.aaronshome.com/aaron/publications/index.html [Accessed 14 March 2021].

Cohn, G., 2018. AI Art at Christie’s Sells for $432,500. The New York Times, [online]. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/arts/design/ai-art-sold-christies.html [Accessed 14 March 2021].

Elgammal, A., Liu, B., Elhoseiny, M., Mazzone, M., 2017. CAN: Creative Adversarial Networks Generating “Art” by Learning About Styles and Deviating from Style Norms. Cornell University [online] Available at: https://arxiv.org/abs/1706.07068  [Accessed 14 March 2021].

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What is AI Art? A Conversation with ChatGPT

Pau Waelder

Image generated with Open AI’s DALL-E 2

ChatGPT is a machine learning model developed by OpenAI which was recently opened to the public as a research preview, allowing users to test it freely. Similarly to how DALL-E 2 draw widespread attention for its ability to create impressively realistic or stylized images based on text prompts, ChatGPT is now receiving similar responses, since it is capable of producing reasoned explanations and provide answers to follow-up questions, apparently grasping the context of what is being asked. As explained by OpenAI, the model was trained using supervised learning, based on conversations written by humans, in which a question and an answer were provided. Then a reward model was trained using several answers to the same question and having a human labeler rank them from best to worst. A reinforcement learning algorithm was used to optimize the model.  

ChatGPT is able to explain concepts and provide answers considering different aspects of an issue, often maintaining a neutral attitude that seeks to balance out opposing points of view. It usually concludes with a short paragraph that summarizes its previous statements. Seeking to test it, I asked a series of questions regarding art created with Artificial Intelligence programs. It seemed fitting to have an AI system explain AI art to humans. The result is the interview below.

Please note: ChatGPT provides long answers, sometimes using repetitive formulas. I have decided not to make any edits to the text in order to remain true to its outputs, and so to avoid forcing readers to scroll through a very long article I’ve included an index below. Feel free to click on the questions you find most interesting. They are grouped into themes to make browsing easier.

Definitions and history

Creativity

Production

Environmental impact

Aesthetics

Market

Longevity

What is AI art?

AI art is artwork created by artificial intelligence. This can take a variety of forms, but typically involves using algorithms and machine learning techniques to generate visual artwork, music, or other forms of creative expression. AI art often explores the intersection of art and technology, and can involve the use of neural networks and other forms of AI to create unique and unpredictable artistic experiences. Some AI art is created with the goal of imitating human creativity, while other AI art is intended to push the boundaries of what is possible with technology and create entirely new forms of art.

AI art is a type of art that is created using artificial intelligence algorithms and technology. AI art can take many forms, including digital art, paintings, sculptures, and other types of visual art. The algorithms and technology used in AI art can be trained to create original works of art or can be used to enhance or manipulate existing artwork. AI art can be created by both human artists and AI algorithms working together, or it can be created entirely by AI.

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Is AI art a subset of algorithmic art?

AI art can be considered a subset of algorithmic art. Algorithmic art is a term that refers to art that is created using algorithms and other computational processes. AI art is a specific type of algorithmic art that is created using AI technology and algorithms.

In this sense, AI art can be considered a subset of algorithmic art, because it is a specific type of art that is created using algorithms and computational processes. However, it is worth noting that not all algorithmic art is AI art, and there are many other types of algorithmic art that do not use AI technology.

Overall, while AI art is a type of algorithmic art, it is not the only type of algorithmic art, and there are many other types of algorithmic art that do not use AI technology.

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Not all algorithmic art is AI art, and there are many other types of algorithmic art that do not use AI technology.

What role does AI art play in the history of contemporary art?

AI art is a relatively new development in the history of modern and contemporary art, and its role is still evolving. However, AI art has already had a significant impact on the art world, and it has introduced new ideas and possibilities for artists and art enthusiasts.

One of the key ways in which AI art has impacted the art world is by challenging traditional notions of what constitutes art and who can create it. Because AI algorithms and technology can be used to create art without the need for human intervention, AI art has called into question the idea that art must be created by human artists in order to be considered “real” art.

Additionally, AI art has also introduced new possibilities for collaboration between human artists and AI technology. Many artists are now experimenting with using AI algorithms and technology as part of their creative process, and this has led to the emergence of new styles and genres of art that are not possible without the use of AI technology.

Overall, while AI art is a relatively new development in the history of modern and contemporary art, it has already had a significant impact on the art world, and it is likely to continue to play an important role in the future.

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How did AI art come about?

AI art has its roots in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), which is the study of how to create computer systems that can simulate human intelligence. The development of AI technology has been ongoing for several decades, and it has led to the creation of many different AI algorithms and technologies that can be used to solve complex problems and to automate various tasks.

One of the areas in which AI technology has been applied is in the creation of art. By training AI algorithms on large datasets of artwork, it is possible to create AI programs that can generate novel and original artworks based on the information they have learned.

The first known examples of AI art date back to the 1960s, when researchers began to experiment with using AI algorithms to create visual art. Since then, the field of AI art has continued to evolve and grow, and there are now many different AI algorithms and technologies that can be used to create a wide range of different types of art.

Overall, AI art has come about as a result of the development of AI technology and algorithms, and the application of these technologies to the field of art.

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Which was the first AI artwork ever created?

The first known examples of AI art date back to the 1960s, when researchers began to experiment with using AI algorithms to create visual art. One of the first known AI artworks was created by the computer scientist Harold Cohen in the early 1960s. Cohen developed a program called AARON, which was able to create abstract drawings based on a set of rules and instructions that Cohen provided.

Another early example of AI art was created by the artist Harold Cohen in the early 1970s. Cohen developed a program called AARON, which was able to create abstract drawings based on a set of rules and instructions that Cohen provided.

Overall, while the exact details of the first AI artwork are not well-documented, it is likely that one of the first AI artworks was created by Harold Cohen in the early 1960s.

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Can you name the main artists who have created art with AI?

There are many artists who have created art using AI technology and algorithms. Some of the most notable and well-known artists who have created AI art include:

  • Mario Klingemann: Klingemann is a German artist who creates AI art using a variety of different algorithms and technologies. His work often explores the intersection of art and technology, and he has exhibited his AI art in galleries and museums around the world.
  • Trevor Paglen: Paglen is an American artist who creates AI art that explores the relationship between technology, surveillance, and power. His AI artworks often take the form of large-scale installations and projections, and he has exhibited his work in galleries and museums around the world.
  • Anna Ridler: Ridler is a British artist who creates AI art using deep learning algorithms and machine learning techniques. Her AI art often explores themes of identity and the human condition, and she has exhibited her work in galleries and museums around the world.
  • Sougwen Chung: Chung is a Canadian artist who creates AI art that explores the relationship between humans and machines. Her work often involves collaborative projects between human artists and AI algorithms, and she has exhibited her AI art in galleries and museums around the world.

Overall, there are many artists who have created AI art, and their work covers a wide range of styles, techniques, and themes. These artists are at the forefront of exploring the potential of AI technology and algorithms to create art, and their work has been exhibited and recognized in galleries and museums around the world.

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Who creates the art, the artist or the machine?

Both the artist and the machine can create AI art. Some AI art is created entirely by AI algorithms, without any human input. In these cases, the algorithms themselves are the “artists” creating the artwork. Other AI art is created by human artists using AI technology and algorithms to assist them in the creative process. In these cases, the human artist is the creator of the artwork, but the AI technology and algorithms are an important part of the creative process. In some cases, AI art may be created by a collaboration between a human artist and AI algorithms, with both contributing to the final artwork.

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How can an algorithm be an artist? Isn’t creativity exclusively human?

The question of whether creativity is exclusively human is a complex one, and there is no definitive answer. Some people believe that creativity is a uniquely human trait, while others believe that it is possible for machines and algorithms to be creative.

One way to approach this question is to consider what we mean by creativity. Creativity can be defined as the ability to produce something new and original. While this definition may seem to exclude machines and algorithms, it is important to remember that these tools can be used in ways that were not possible before, and that they can help us to explore new ideas and create new and original works of art.

The algorithms themselves can be seen as creative agents, capable of producing new and original works of art.

In the case of AI art, the algorithms and technology used can be trained on vast amounts of data and can be designed to explore a wide range of possibilities. This can allow the algorithms to generate artwork that is novel and original, even if it is created entirely by a machine. In this sense, the algorithms themselves can be seen as creative agents, capable of producing new and original works of art.

Ultimately, whether we consider AI art to be the work of a human artist, the machine, or a collaboration between the two, will depend on our individual perspectives and values. What is important is that AI art allows us to explore new possibilities and to create art in ways that were not previously possible.

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Why would an AI program create art for humans? Wouldn’t it be more interesting to create art that only another AI can understand?

AI programs can create art for humans or for other AI programs, depending on the specific goals and objectives of the program and the designers who created it. In some cases, an AI program may be designed to create art that only another AI program can understand, for example, as part of a research project or to explore the capabilities of AI algorithms.

However, in many cases, AI programs are designed to create art that can be understood and appreciated by humans. This is because art is often a way for people to express themselves and to communicate with others, and creating art that can be understood and appreciated by humans is an important part of this process.

Additionally, creating art that can be understood and appreciated by humans can also help to demonstrate the capabilities of AI technology and algorithms. By creating art that people can understand and appreciate, AI programs can show the potential of AI technology to generate novel and interesting ideas, and to explore new creative possibilities.

Overall, whether an AI program creates art for humans or for other AI programs will depend on the specific goals and objectives of the program and the designers who created it.

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Who should sign an artwork created with AI?

The question of who should sign an artwork created with AI is a complex one, and there is no definitive answer. The specific approach that an artist takes when signing AI-generated art will depend on the individual artist and their goals and values.

In some cases, an artist may choose to sign an artwork created with AI themselves, as the primary creator of the artwork. This could be because the artist believes that they were the primary driving force behind the creation of the artwork, and that the AI program was only a tool that was used to assist in the creative process.

On the other hand, some artists may choose to sign the artwork with the name of the AI program that was used to create the art. This could be seen as a way of recognizing the contributions of the AI program to the creation of the artwork, and it could be an interesting and unique way to explore the relationship between human artists and AI technology.

In some cases, an artist may choose to sign an artwork created with AI using both their own name and the name of the AI program. This could be seen as a way of recognizing the contributions of both the human artist and the AI program to the creation of the artwork.

Ultimately, the approach that an artist takes when signing AI-generated art will depend on their individual goals and values. Some artists may choose to sign the artwork themselves, while others may choose to sign it with the name of the AI program, and still others may choose a combination of both. What is important is that the artist is transparent about their approach and that they are fair and reasonable in their dealings with the AI program and any other parties involved.

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If AI programs are written by humans, isn’t AI art entirely created by humans, in the end?

It is true that AI programs are written by humans, and that the technology and algorithms used in AI art are created by humans. However, it is important to remember that AI programs are not just simple, pre-programmed tools that are used by human artists. Instead, AI programs are capable of learning from data and of making decisions and predictions based on that learning.

In the case of AI art, this means that the AI algorithms and technology are not just blindly executing instructions that have been written by humans. Instead, the AI algorithms are able to generate novel and original artwork based on the information they have learned from the training data.

This means that while AI art is not created entirely by humans, it is also not created entirely by AI algorithms. Instead, it is the result of a collaboration between human creators and AI technology, with both playing important roles in the creation of the final artwork.

Overall, while AI art is not created entirely by humans, it is also not created entirely by AI algorithms. Instead, it is the result of a collaboration between human creators and AI technology.

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Which tools are there to create AI art?

There are many different tools and technologies that can be used to create AI art. Some of the most commonly used tools and technologies for creating AI art include:

  • Machine learning algorithms, such as neural networks, that can be trained on data to generate art
  • Generative adversarial networks (GANs), which can be used to create realistic images and other types of art
  • Deep learning algorithms, which can be used to create detailed and complex artworks
  • Computer vision algorithms, which can be used to analyze and interpret visual information
  • Natural language processing algorithms, which can be used to generate text-based art, such as poetry or fiction

These are just a few examples of the tools and technologies that can be used to create AI art, and there are many other options available. The specific tools and technologies used to create AI art will depend on the individual artist and their goals and objectives.

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Which are the most commonly used AI programs?

There are many different AI programs and technologies that are commonly used for creating AI art. Some of the most commonly used AI programs include:

  • GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks): GANs are a type of AI algorithm that is often used for creating AI art. GANs consist of two neural networks – a generator network and a discriminator network – that work together to generate novel and original artworks based on a dataset of existing artwork.
  • Style transfer algorithms: Style transfer algorithms are a type of AI algorithm that is used to apply the style of one image to another image. This can be used to create AI art by applying the style of a famous painting or artist to a new image, creating a novel and original artwork that combines the style of the original with the content of the new image.
  • Evolutionary algorithms: Evolutionary algorithms are a type of AI algorithm that is inspired by the principles of natural selection and evolution. These algorithms can be used to create AI art by starting with a population of random artworks, and then using a set of rules and criteria to select the “fittest” artworks from each generation, allowing the art to evolve over time.
  • Deep learning algorithms: Deep learning algorithms are a type of AI algorithm that is based on the structure and function of the human brain. These algorithms can be used to create AI art by training the algorithm on a dataset of existing artworks, and then using the trained algorithm to generate novel and original art.

Overall, there are many different AI programs and technologies that are commonly used for creating AI art, and the specific program that is used will depend on the goals and objectives of the artist.

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Which programming languages are used to create AI art?

There are many different programming languages that can be used to create AI art. Some of the most commonly used programming languages for creating AI art include:

  • Python: Python is a popular and versatile programming language that is often used for AI and machine learning applications. It has a large and active community of developers and users, and it offers a wide range of libraries and tools for working with AI algorithms and technology.
  • R: R is a programming language that is commonly used for statistical computing and data analysis. It has a strong focus on data visualization and is often used for creating AI art that involves the generation of complex images and other visual elements.
  • JavaScript: JavaScript is a popular programming language that is often used for web development. It is a versatile language that can be used for a wide range of different AI and machine learning applications, including the creation of AI art.
  • Java: Java is a popular and widely used programming language that is often used for developing large-scale, enterprise-level applications. It is a versatile language that can be used for creating AI art, and it has a large and active community of developers and users.

These are just a few examples of the programming languages that can be used to create AI art, and there are many other options available. The specific programming language that is used to create AI art will depend on the individual artist and their goals and objectives.

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Does an artist need to code to create this type of art?

An artist does not necessarily need to know how to code in order to create AI art. While knowledge of coding can be helpful for creating AI art, it is not a requirement.

There are many different tools and technologies available that can be used to create AI art without needing to know how to code. For example, there are several user-friendly AI platforms and tools that can be used to create AI art without needing to know how to code. These tools often provide a simple, intuitive interface that allows users to create AI art by dragging and dropping different elements and using pre-defined algorithms and settings.

There are many artists who collaborate with coders and other technical experts to create AI art.

Additionally, there are many artists who collaborate with coders and other technical experts to create AI art. In these cases, the artist can focus on the creative aspects of the art, while the coders and technical experts handle the technical aspects of creating the AI art.

Overall, while knowledge of coding can be helpful for creating AI art, it is not a requirement, and there are many different tools and technologies available that can be used to create AI art without needing to know how to code.

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Do you need a very powerful computer?

The specific hardware requirements for creating AI art will depend on the specific AI algorithms and technologies that are being used, as well as the complexity and scale of the artworks being created. In general, however, creating AI art often requires a significant amount of computing power, and it is not something that can be done on a standard desktop or laptop computer.

In many cases, creating AI art will require the use of a high-performance computer with a powerful processor and a large amount of RAM. This type of computer will be able to handle the complex computations and data processing that is required for creating AI art, and it will be able to generate high-quality artworks in a reasonable amount of time.

Additionally, some AI algorithms and technologies may require the use of specialized hardware, such as graphics processing units (GPUs), in order to run efficiently and to generate high-quality artworks. In these cases, a computer with one or more powerful GPUs will be required in order to create AI art.

Overall, while the specific hardware requirements for creating AI art will vary depending on the algorithms and technologies being used, it is generally a resource-intensive task that requires a powerful computer with a large amount of computing power.

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Does this mean, then, that only a handful of artists can create AI art?

The ability to create AI art is not limited to a small group of artists. While creating AI art does require a certain level of technical expertise and access to the necessary tools and technologies, these are not necessarily difficult or expensive to obtain.

There are many different tools and technologies available that can be used to create AI art, and many of these are freely available or can be purchased at a low cost. Additionally, there are many online resources and tutorials that can help artists to learn the technical skills and knowledge that are needed to create AI art.

Anyone who is interested in creating AI art can learn the necessary skills and obtain the necessary tools and technologies

As a result, while creating AI art does require some technical expertise and access to the necessary tools and technologies, it is not something that is limited to a small group of artists. Anyone who is interested in creating AI art can learn the necessary skills and obtain the necessary tools and technologies, and there are many different resources available to help them do so.

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Will AI make artists lazy?

The use of AI technology in the creation of art will not necessarily make artists lazy. In fact, AI technology can be a powerful tool that can assist artists in the creative process and help them to explore new ideas and possibilities.

However, it is important to remember that AI technology is just a tool, and it cannot replace the creativity and vision of human artists. While AI algorithms and technology can be used to generate suggestions or ideas for artwork, it is ultimately up to the human artist to decide which ideas to pursue and how to incorporate them into their work.

Additionally, the use of AI technology in the creation of art can also help to inspire and challenge artists to think in new ways and to push the boundaries of what is possible. In this way, the use of AI technology can actually encourage artists to be more creative and innovative, rather than making them lazy.

Overall, while the use of AI technology in the creation of art can be a powerful tool, it will not necessarily make artists lazy. Instead, it can assist artists in the creative process and help them to explore new ideas and possibilities.

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Can it lead to an overproduction of art?

The use of AI programs in the creation of art could potentially lead to an overproduction of art. Because AI algorithms and technology can be used to generate art quickly and efficiently, it is possible that the use of AI could result in a large number of artworks being produced in a short period of time.

However, it is important to remember that the use of AI in the creation of art is not a new development, and it has been happening for several years. As a result, the art market has already had time to adjust to the use of AI technology, and the potential for overproduction of art is not as great as it may seem.

Additionally, it is worth considering that the quality and value of AI-generated art will vary, and not all AI-generated art will be of equal quality or worth. This means that while there may be a large number of AI-generated artworks produced, not all of them will be considered valuable or worth collecting.

Overall, while the use of AI programs in the creation of art could potentially lead to an overproduction of art, the potential for overproduction is not as great as it may seem, and the quality and value of AI-generated art will vary.

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What is the environmental impact of all of this?

The environmental impact of creating AI art will depend on a variety of factors, including the specific tools and technologies that are being used, the amount of computing power that is required, and the conditions under which the art is created.

In general, however, creating AI art can be a resource-intensive process that requires a significant amount of computing power. This can have an impact on the environment, both in terms of the energy that is consumed and the potential for electronic waste.

Additionally, some AI algorithms and technologies may require the use of specialized hardware, such as graphics processing units (GPUs), which can be expensive to purchase and difficult to dispose of in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Overall, the environmental impact of creating AI art will depend on the specific tools and technologies that are being used, and it is important for artists to consider this impact when creating AI art. There are many different ways to reduce the environmental impact of creating AI art, such as using energy-efficient hardware and recycling or repurposing old or obsolete technology.

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And if in the future many more artists can use AI programs and these are resource-intensive, does this mean that AI art can be bad for the planet?

If the use of AI programs for creating art becomes more widespread in the future, it is possible that it could have a negative impact on the environment. As more and more artists use AI algorithms and technology to create art, the demand for computing power and specialized hardware will increase, and this could lead to an increase in energy consumption and electronic waste.

However, it is important to note that the potential negative impact of creating AI art on the environment is not unique to AI art, and it is something that is also a concern for other forms of art making that are resource-intensive. Additionally, it is also possible that advancements in AI technology and algorithms could lead to more efficient and environmentally-friendly ways of creating AI art, which could help to mitigate the potential negative impact on the environment.

Overall, while the use of AI programs for creating art could potentially have a negative impact on the environment, this is not unique to AI art, and it is something that can be addressed through the use of efficient and environmentally-friendly technology and practices.

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Do people really like AI art, or are they in it just for the novelty?

It is difficult to say whether people truly like AI art, or if they are simply interested in its novelty. There are certainly many people who are intrigued by the idea of AI art, and they may be drawn to these artworks because they are something new and different.

However, there are also many people who genuinely appreciate the aesthetic qualities of AI art, and who enjoy the unique perspective and ideas that these artworks can offer. Some people may find AI art to be thought-provoking and engaging, and they may enjoy the challenge of trying to understand and interpret these artworks.

Overall, it is likely that people’s reactions to AI art will vary, and there will be some people who are interested in it simply because it is novel, while others will genuinely appreciate and enjoy the art itself.

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Why do most AI generated artworks produce nightmarish images?

Most AI-generated artworks do not produce nightmarish images. In fact, many AI-generated artworks are quite beautiful and interesting. However, it is true that some AI-generated artworks can produce images that some people might find disturbing or unsettling.

There are a few reasons why this may be the case. One reason is that AI algorithms are designed to explore a wide range of possibilities, and this can sometimes result in the generation of images that are unusual or unexpected. Another reason is that the training data used to teach the AI algorithm may contain images that some people find disturbing, and this can influence the types of images the algorithm generates.

It is also worth noting that what one person finds disturbing or nightmarish may not be the same for another person. What is considered “nightmarish” is a matter of personal opinion, and different people may have different reactions to the same image.

Overall, while some AI-generated artworks may produce images that some people find disturbing, this is not the case for all AI-generated art, and many AI-generated artworks are beautiful and interesting.

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Why does GAN generated art look like bad painting?

Not all GAN-generated art looks like bad painting. GANs, or Generative Adversarial Networks, are a type of AI algorithm that can be used to generate art, and the specific appearance of the art generated by a GAN will depend on the training data and other factors.

It is true that some GAN-generated art may appear to be low-quality or “bad” painting. This can happen for a few reasons. One reason is that the training data used to teach the GAN may not be of high quality, which can result in the GAN generating art that is less detailed or less realistic than it could be. Another reason is that the GAN may not be trained for a long enough time, or it may not be trained on a large enough dataset, which can also result in lower-quality art.

It is also worth noting that what one person considers to be “bad” painting may not be the same for another person. Beauty and quality are subjective, and different people may have different opinions about the same artwork.

Overall, while some GAN-generated art may appear to be low-quality or “bad” painting, this is not the case for all GAN-generated art, and the specific appearance of GAN-generated art will depend on a variety of factors.

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Should we reconsider our notions of art when exploring art made with AI?

The use of AI technology and algorithms to create art can certainly challenge our traditional notions of art and the creative process. Because AI algorithms and technology can be used to create art without the need for human intervention, AI art calls into question the idea that art must be created by human artists in order to be considered “real” art.

Additionally, AI art can also challenge our ideas about what makes art valuable and interesting. Because AI algorithms are able to generate artworks that are highly detailed and complex, they can create art that is aesthetically pleasing and engaging. This can challenge the idea that art must be created by human artists in order to have value or meaning.

Overall, exploring AI art can certainly lead us to reconsider our notions of art and the creative process. By challenging our traditional ideas about what constitutes art and what makes art valuable, AI art can help us to see art in new and interesting ways.

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Is AI art a good investment?

The potential for AI art to be a good investment will depend on a variety of factors, including the specific artworks being considered, the reputation and track record of the artist, and the overall state of the art market.

In general, however, AI art is still a relatively new and untested area of the art market, and there is a lot of uncertainty around the value and potential appreciation of AI artworks. Many buyers and collectors may be hesitant to invest in AI art due to its novelty and the lack of a track record for these types of artworks.

Additionally, the market for AI art is still relatively small, and there may not be a large number of buyers and collectors who are interested in these artworks. This could limit the potential for AI art to appreciate in value over time, and it could make it difficult for investors to find buyers for their AI artworks.

Overall, while there may be some potential for AI art to be a good investment, there are also many factors that could limit its value and potential appreciation. It is important for investors to carefully consider these factors before deciding to invest in AI art.

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When selling art created with AI, should the artist split their benefits with the AI program?

Whether or not an artist should split their benefits with an AI program when selling art created with AI will depend on the specific circumstances and the agreement between the artist and the AI program. In some cases, the artist and the AI program may have agreed to share the benefits from the sale of the art, in which case the artist would need to split their benefits with the AI program.

However, in other cases, the artist and the AI program may not have agreed to share the benefits from the sale of the art. In these cases, the artist would not be obligated to split their benefits with the AI program, and they would be entitled to keep all of the proceeds from the sale of the art.

Ultimately, whether or not an artist should split their benefits with an AI program when selling art created with AI will depend on the specific circumstances and the agreement between the artist and the AI program. It is always a good idea for the artist and the AI program to carefully consider and agree on these issues before starting to create art together.

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Will AI-generated art be preserved in the same way as paintings and sculptures? Will it last for centuries?

It is not clear whether AI-generated art will be preserved in the same way as paintings and sculptures. The preservation of art is a complex process that involves a variety of factors, including the materials used to create the art, the conditions in which the art is stored, and the care and attention given to the art over time.

In the case of AI-generated art, the specific approach to preservation will depend on the materials and technology used to create the art. For example, some AI-generated art may be created using digital media, such as video or audio, which may be more susceptible to degradation or loss over time. In these cases, the art may require special preservation techniques in order to ensure that it is preserved for future generations.

On the other hand, some AI-generated art may be created using physical materials, such as paint or clay, which may be more durable and easier to preserve over time. In these cases, the art may be more likely to last for centuries, just like traditional paintings and sculptures.

Overall, the preservation of AI-generated art will depend on the materials and technology used to create the art, as well as the care and attention given to the art over time. It is not clear whether AI-generated art will be preserved in the same way as traditional paintings and sculptures, and it will ultimately depend on the specific artworks and the circumstances in which they are created.

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Will it replace other forms of art making?

It is unlikely that AI-generated art will replace other forms of art making. While AI technology and algorithms can be used to create interesting and novel artworks, they are not a replacement for the creativity and vision of human artists.

Additionally, there are many different forms of art making, and the use of AI technology and algorithms is just one of many different approaches that artists can take. As a result, it is unlikely that AI-generated art will replace other forms of art making, and it will likely continue to exist alongside other forms of art making.

Overall, while AI technology and algorithms can be used to create interesting and novel artworks, it is unlikely that AI-generated art will replace other forms of art making. Instead, it is likely that AI-generated art will continue to exist alongside other forms of art making, as one of many different approaches that artists can take.

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Do you think that AI art will get better with time?

It is likely that AI art will get better with time, as AI technology and algorithms continue to advance and improve. As AI algorithms become more sophisticated and are able to learn from larger and more diverse datasets, they will be able to generate more detailed and realistic artwork.

Additionally, as more and more artists begin to experiment with AI technology and algorithms in their creative process, they will develop new techniques and approaches that can help to improve the quality of AI-generated art. This could lead to the emergence of new styles and genres of AI art, and it could help to push the boundaries of what is possible with AI technology.

Overall, it is likely that AI art will continue to improve and evolve over time, as AI technology and algorithms advance and as more artists begin to experiment with AI in their creative process.

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Over its history, AI technology has frequently promised more than it could deliver. Is this the case with AI art right now?

AI technology has indeed often promised more than it could deliver in the past. However, this is not necessarily the case with AI art. While there are limitations to what AI technology and algorithms can currently do in terms of creating art, there are also many interesting and impressive examples of AI art that demonstrate the potential of this technology.

One of the key limitations of AI art is that it is currently unable to create art that is truly original and creative in the same way that human artists can. AI algorithms and technology are still limited in their ability to understand and generate novel ideas, and most AI-generated art is based on existing data and patterns.

However, despite this limitation, there are many examples of AI art that are impressive and thought-provoking. Some AI algorithms and technologies are able to create art that is highly detailed and complex, and there are many interesting and novel ways in which AI technology can be used to create art.

Overall, while there are limitations to what AI technology and algorithms can currently do in terms of creating art, there are also many interesting and impressive examples of AI art that demonstrate the potential of this technology.

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