Synthetic Evolution

While DNA is a slow and effective means of the evolution of our species, AI technology has become an accelerant impacting how all species on the planet are evolving.

shows the evolution from original to AI manipulated image
Kinesin Descending a Cat 6 Cable by Ken Rinaldo Original and AI manipulated.

Artificial intelligence tools with machine learning are transforming the arts and sciences, and AlphaFold’s ability to accurately predict 3D models of protein structures has the potential to transform the field of biology.

AI tools have also become readily available for art remixing, and culture is on fire, metaphorically and literally. 

So how do artists support the coming AI, neural network, and big-data art boom? We learn the tools and the technology and engage in the process of remixing. Suppose the artist cares not for the tools we have.

António Prates at the Opening of Synthetic Evolution by Ken Rinaldo. Photo Amy Youngs

We create new AI algorithms, processes, and techniques in that case. We must misuse the tools often designed for commercial ends while expanding our imaginations and the dialogue surrounding AI art aesthetics. We may not personally have determined what technologies or tools we use or engage with, though as artists, ultimately, we are forming them, and they are creating, developing, enveloping, and forming us.

Antonio Prates at the Opening of Synthetic Evolution. Photo Amy Young

Synthetic Evolution’s exhibition deconstructs and reworks existing hand-drawn works as training sets for the AI that takes and further evolves and mutates these images, using additional vital words inspired by these drawings to steer and elicit new algorithmically generative works using this data.

Opening of Synthetic Evolution exhibition by Ken Rinaldo at Galeria António Prates. Photo Ken Rinaldo

The images were selected from the Sacs, Membranes, Motors, and Vesicles Series and The Immaculate Organicism series. These images are fed into artificial intelligence and vision systems using learning algorithms and generative adversarial networks. (GANS)

Opening of Synthetic Evolution video by Ken Rinaldo at Galeria António Prates. Photo Amy Youngs

The drawings of microbial worlds, machine diagrams, and biomorphic remixes combined with the AI systems’ learning algorithms and keywords created dynamic color, composition, and form and realized an evolved human-machine aesthetic.

Sacs, Membranes, Cornocopia by Ken Rinaldo at Galeria António Prates. Photo Ken Rinaldo

As artificial intelligence (AI) is now more fully influencing visual culture, we are witnessing the emergence of authentic synthetic aesthetics. Big data, vision systems, and image analysis, unified with artificial intelligence, can now replicate artistic styles well enough to fool experts in the field, forcing us to question the nature of creativity.

Viewers are looking at The Immaculate Organicism collages and drawings at the Synthetic Evolution exhibition by Ken Rinaldo at Galeria António Prates. Photo Amy Youngs

Part of the exhibition also consists of images composed by artificial intelligence using words to pull from large databases of images on the world wide web. They are brought into the system, and the AI algorithms work to resolve the visual collages that result from these many words or phrases.

Hundreds of images are rendered before one or two are selected. After they are generated, I go back into the renders and add color, line, and form. 

As biological species have emerged, so too have algorithmic species arisen. The availability of knowledge at the fingertips of most has changed the nature of how we imagine and create, and the individual now joins an emergent cognition of web knowledge guided by human notions of aesthetics.

With machine learning, the computer is at the edge of showing evolutionary survival instinct and emergent self-aware software agents.

The Immaculate Organicism collages and drawings at the Synthetic Evolution exhibition by Ken Rinaldo at The Galeria António Prates Gallery. Photo Amy Youngs

Epistemology has always been about lenses, and when lenses were analog and made of glass, they changed our world views profoundly. Our lenses are still made of glass, though silicon and algorithms are supplanting optical lenses, and databases and algorithms have given us new ways of understanding our world.

Data-based algorithmic ways of knowing are becoming predominant.

The Sacs, Motors, Membranes, and Vesicles Series drawings and the AI rendered work derived from drawings at the Synthetic Evolution exhibition by Ken Rinaldo at Galeria António Prates. Photo Amy Youngs

Digital visualization and fabrication technologies are increasingly supplanting the hand of the artist, and the computer has become an ideational amplifier. These technologies, in association with biological procedures, such as CRISPR Cas9, will mean a semi-living constructed species can and will appear.

As a species, we are more fully intimate with the machine in this age of computer-based art forms.

The Sacs, Motors, Membranes, and Vesicles Series drawings and the AI rendered work derived from drawings at the Synthetic Evolution exhibition by Ken Rinaldo at Galeria António Prates. Photo Amy Youngs

We witness nature through a phone and smart TV screen, and nature has been replicated as images and videos to be experienced inside screens.

Human data is seeded, collected, and sold, and the human-machine symbionts have now fully emerged, further impacting artmaking and, ultimately, the evolution of visual culture.

Opening selfies at the Synthetic Evolution exhibition at Galeria António Prates. Photo Amy Youngs.

This exhibition explores the junctions and disjunctions between natural and synthetic ways of evolving artworks, asking what the machine may learn from us and what we may learn from the artificial perceptions, replications, and manipulations that the algorithms advance as computer cognition emerges.

The Synthetic Evolution framed AI works at Galeria António Prates. Photo Amy Youngs.

An additional part of this exhibition is two edited video reels with artificially intelligent composed sound, showing you the computer’s variations in trying to learn and resolve the final images as they struggle to match the artists’ forms, lines, and colors.

Video and framed AI works at the Synthetic Evolution Exhibition by Ken Rinaldo at the Galeria António Prates. Photo Amy Youngs.

Video and framed AI works at the Synthetic Evolution Exhibition and artist Ken Rinaldo at the Galeria António Prates. Photo Amy Youngs.

Exhibitions

ANTONIO PRATES GALLERY                                Lisbon, Portugal, June 2022-September 15, 2022
A one-person exhibition of new works inspired by the intertwining of human and machine interactions. Invited by Antonio Prates in collaboration with Centro Portuguese de Serigraphia and Joao Prates.