Rocketeer MAGAZIN 2/23, published at the end of 2023
Artificial Intelligence and Painting in Dialog
with Silke Bachmann (Munich)
Artificial intelligence is increasingly shaping our society, whether as intelligent household appliances or applications that make everyday routines easier, as universal geniuses that find answers to almost all of our questions, or as viral images and videos that cause amazement, amusement or horror on social media. A feeling of insecurity spreads in the face of so much intelligent anarchy. The artists Silke Bachmann (painting, drawing) and Erika Kassnel-Henneberg (video, AI, concept, Polaroid) want to counteract this.
In this joint project, the artists want to explore the creative potential of a dialog between AI and traditional art techniques. As a thematic limitation and common thread, they deal with dreams as echo chambers of everyday experiences, memories and fears.
Based on texts about their own dreams and memories, a text-to-image AI is “fed” with terms in order to visualize surreal scenes. These outputs serve as the basis for further processing with a traditional medium (e.g. drawing or painting), which in turn can become the initial image of an AI application, and so on. Like an echo, the various media relate to each other in terms of content and time and at the same time symbolize the idea of the echo chamber.
We discuss opportunities, risks and possibilities
“The technically feasible and its creative realization have always fascinated artists and audiences alike. The options created by AI catapult these possibilities to new levels.” (a3kultur)
When: Saturday, 20.01.2024, 6 to 7.30 pm.
Where: in the rooms of the BBK, Glaspalast, Am Glaspalast 1, 86153 Augsburg.
Invited guests: Tina Lorenz (digital theater pioneer, head of the Hertz Lab ZKM Karlsruhe), Alessandra Zarcone (professor of language technologies and cognitive assistance, TH Augsburg), Gerald Bauer (artist), Martina Vordermayer (designer, a3kultur author), Erika Kassnel-Henneberg (artist), Horst Thieme (literature, smart city expert).
Moderation: Jürgen Kannler (a3kultur).
Organizer: a3kultur in cooperation with BBK and Ständige Konferenz e.V.
“Die Gedanken sind frei” (The Thoughts are Free) – a German folk song that has been sung many times as an expression of resistance to oppression. The author and composer are unknown. Does the song take on a new meaning when it comes from the “mouth” of an artificial intelligence? What new verses would the intelligence invent in “its sense”? I let ChatGPT write new verses for this thought experiment. Only the first and last verses are identical to the traditional song. The lip-sync animation was also done with the help of artificial intelligence.
Birth – growth – reproduction – death. The eternal cycle of life. But all the efforts of modern science are aimed at slowing down or even stopping this cycle: fewer illnesses, vitality into old age, eternal youth, and so on. Is this eternity? How old do we want to be? When have we lived enough? These fading beauties never existed, but were generated by an artificial intelligence. They are thus representative reminders of the beauty of human existence in all its imperfection.
3. 11. to 3.12.2023
Vernissage on November 3 at 7 p.m. in St. Konrad, Bärenstr. 22, 86156 Augsburg, Germany.
Finissage on December 3.
The apple was and is in many cultures of high symbolic power: Be it as a symbol for eternal youth, eternal life, for love, fertility, paradise and fall of man. In this videoinstallation we circle around a golden apple. We recognize familiar places in the Bärenkeller (a district of Augsburg) in the background and on its reflecting surface. Like foreign bodies, two-dimensional portraits of various people float in it. Who are these people? The holy family? Our neighbors? They never existed, but are outputs of an artificial intelligence. Is this paradise on earth?
Sandbox is on the one hand a sandy playground for children, on the other hand a term originating from software development for an “isolated area within which any action has no effect on the external environment”. (Wikipedia)
We are sitting in a large virtual sandbox that is anything but isolated. There are many toys in it that we don’t know what they are for. And new ones are added every day. We explore them playfully and in the process we come up with ideas – good or bad….
One such toy is Dall-e 2, one of the most celebrated AIs of 2022, which can create realistic images and even artwork from a text-based description in natural language. This creative act is new and unique, and must be judged as the next stage of evolution.
The works Dall-e generates are almost perfect, and yet she generates strangely disturbing outputs in response to seemingly innocuous keywords. It begs the question, is this the toy we would give our children?
Since the invention of the internet and social media in particular, our society has found itself in parallel realities: the analog, physical world and the virtual one. There, we are increasingly confronted with fake people and fake stories that have been perfected with the help of artificial intelligence. How can we counter a digital space that is dehumanized in every respect?
In this work, I bring together two things that don’t belong together: the Polaroid and the AI-generated fake human. For a long time, Polaroids embodied authenticity and uniqueness, because each photo was unique and captured a real moment in all its imperfection. But the scenes here, which look like baroque vanitas motifs, never existed. And yet the Polaroid as a medium lends this work something credible and truthful.
In this constellation, the vanitas idea “Remember that you are mortal” is given a surprising twist, which could come from the “mouth” of an artificial intelligence: “Remember that you are obsolet”.
2023, video with sound, 3:15 min
The tempting offer of AI-supported applications is increasing. With their help, memory photos are brought “to life”.
Does this bring us closer to the person we remember? Or are we creating something else – something new? Something uncanny?
“Anna” really did exist once. A caption on the back of this photograph tells us that it was addressed to someone who was supposed to remember his “little friend Hela”.
What ChatGPT has to say about the “Uncanny Valley”.
What or who is ChatGPT? I asked “him” this question, to which “he” replied the following:
“I am an artificial intelligence model trained by OpenAI. My answers are based on the information I recorded during my training process. During this training, I was fed an enormous amount of text from a variety of sources, including books, journal articles, news reports and scientific studies. In this way I was able to develop a broad understanding of many different topics and areas of expertise(…). However, it is important to note that I am not able to gather my own experience and that my answers may not always be complete or 100% accurate. My answers should always be used as a source of information and not as definitive expert advice.”