While DNA is a slow and effective means of the evolution of our species, AI technology has become an accelerant that is impacting how all species on the planet are evolving.
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.
In that case, we create new AI algorithms, processes, and techniques and we must misuse the tools, which are 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 and developing. and enveloping us.
Antonio Prates at the Opening of Sythetic Evolution. Photo Amy Young
The exhibition, Synthetic Evolution, deconstructs and reworks existing hand-drawn works as training sets, for the AI that takes and further evolves and mutates provided images, using additional words to steer and elicit other images from the web.
The images were selected from the Sacs, Membranes, Motors and Vesicles Series and The Immaculate Organiscism series which were fed into Artificial Intelligence and vision systems, using learning algorithms, and generative adversarial networks.
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.
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.
Part of the exhibition also consists of images purely 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 rendered I go back into the renders and further adds color, line, and form.
As biological species have emerged, so too an algorithmic species is arising. 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. With machine learning, the computer is at the edge of showing evolutionary survival instinct and emergent self-aware software agents.
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 now silicon and algorithms are supplanting optical lenses, and data-bases and algorithms have given us new ways of understanding our world.
Data-based algorithmic ways of knowing are becoming predominant.
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.
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.
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.
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.