The weird and wonderful art created when AI and humans come together

The weird and wonderful art created when AI and humans come together

After a few weeks of experimentation, I realized that AI had the potential to describe imaginary works of art. Much to my delight, I discovered that I could ask her to write the kind of text you see on a wall tag next to a painting in an art gallery. This would prove to be the start of a fascinating collaborative journey with GPT-3 and a suite of other AI art tools, leading to work ranging from a physical sculpture of toilet plungers to oil paintings. size oil painting on the wall of a Mayfair art gallery.

In recent months, AI-generated art has sparked a lot of debate about whether it’s bad news for artists. There is no doubt that there will be disruptive changes ahead, and there are still important questions about bias, ethics, ownership and representation that need to be answered. However, this wouldn’t be the first time that new technologies have turned the art world upside down – it’s been happening for centuries. And in my own experience, working with AI to create sculptures, paintings, and more has transformed the way I think about the creative process and the possibilities for human-machine collaboration. I believe we are now witnessing the emergence of a whole new art form.

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To be clear, when I refer to AI, it’s not an anthropomorphic or sentient system, but a machine learning algorithm – and there has to be a human in the process. I learned this quickly during my first experiences with GPT-3, when I asked it to create imaginary works of art. While it’s easy enough to get the system to create good-sounding descriptions, having it create output that I considered interesting was something else entirely. I spent about a month on “rapid engineering”, a term that means writing effective input text for AI systems.

Once I found an initial word sequence that would “tickle” the AI ​​in the right way, I developed a workflow with GPT-3 and other algorithms that could produce a description of a work. of art and the imaginary human name of its creator, along with their date of birth and other details (which are sometimes gleaned by asking GPT-3 questions). I then sifted through hundreds to thousands of releases to find the ones I like. These were then fed back into the system to create more text. I then corrected punctuation, spacing, and other technical adjustments to the text (nothing that changes its meaning).

I knew I had found the right recipe when I got the following release (which made me laugh a little too much alone in my studio in confinement):

The sculpture contains a plunger, a toilet plunger, a plunger, a plunger, a plunger and a plunger, each of which has been modified. The first piston is just a regular piston, but the rest is a series of pistons with more and more of the handle removed until only the rubber cup remains. The title of the work is “A Short History of Plungers and Other Things That Go Plunge in the Night” by the artists known as “The Plungers” (whose identity remains unknown).

“The Plungers”, was a collective of anonymous artists, founded in 1972. They were dedicated to “the conceptualization and promotion of a new form of art called Plungism”. The plunge was a creative interpretation of the idea of ​​the plunger, which was defined by The Plungers as “a state of mind in which an artist’s mind is in a state of flux and capable of being influenced by all things, even divers”. The divers’ works have been exhibited in New York galleries and included titles such as ‘Plunger’s Progress’, ‘The Plungers’, ‘The Plungers Strike Back’ and ‘Big Plunger 4: The Final Plunger’, all of which featured divers, and “Plungers on Parade”, which showed images of divers in public spaces. The divers disappeared and left no trace of their identity.

This made me wonder: what if I took these generative descriptions and did them in real life? Since the AI ​​cannot make physical objects, it would be up to my human faculties to do so. Moving work from the digital to the physical realm, I concluded, would add weight and presence to them, which is sometimes lacking on a screen. A sort of symbiosis formed, with the AI ​​producing an output that it then “needed” my imagination, my ability to craft, my aesthetic judgment, and my intuition to visualize and complete.

Here is the physical manifestation of the piston artwork, which I created as part of a series that AI called “AI Am I?” :

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