AI is pretty cool, but can it art?

In the Liminality, Art creates many doors between, hallways through, stairs connecting great heights with incredible lows and pools of doubt. Art can move us from the Liminality to places of (temporarily) solid ground. Or art can strip away our comforts and shove us into new realms made only of Questions.

Questions like: What is Art?

AI interpretation of “My wife is beautiful”

Oxford:
1.
the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

Wikipedia, using language from Lumen Learning “Art is a highly diverse range of human activities engaged in creating visual, auditory, or performed artifacts— artworks—that express the author’s imaginative or technical skill, and are intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power.”

Lumen Continues: “Art may be characterized in terms of mimesis (its representation of reality), expression, communication of emotion, or other qualities. Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed and has changed over time, general descriptions center on the idea of imaginative or technical skill stemming from human agency and creation.”

(Emphasis added to illustrate the repeated use of human.)

Webster’s does not specify human, although distinctly human qualities and intention are:

Webster’s Dictionary: “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.”

So what about these magnificent AI generated… creations(?) I have been playing with on sites like the Night Cafe?

Bert and Ernie sacrifice cookie monster, summoning great Cthulhu.

What’s happening with these? I am providing parameters in the form of written words (in the case above I added a few terms like acrylic, colorful and art deco). The AI is then running keywords through equations that select the various elements that become the piece. The elements – shapes, colors, textures, etc. – were selected by a human programmer who then went on to tell the algorithm what to do with those elements.

The AI has no imagination, no creativity, and no agency. So we can say definitively that the images above are not art.

Right?

Not so fast. Human creativity came up with the code, the logic that Is the AI. Humans”taught” it how to render various terms like “colorful,” “art deco,” “abstract,” etc. And I (human) used my agency to decide what words to combine. In a sense, we have loaned our imagination, creativity, agency and skill to the AI. A (probably large) group of people have all collaborated to make this machine processed art synthesis.

abstract colourful scary woman monster’s portrait with still life in foreground acrylic art

Night Cafe says I am the “creator.” It does not call me “artist” but the site does identify these works as neural network generated artwork and “text-to-image artworks that users have made with NightCafe Creator.” So what’s artwork what does it mean generate? What the hell is a neural network??!!

A person could follow this rabbit hole a very long way; analysing not just the semantics, the history and futures of neural network creation, they could even end up in the totally non-human territory of elephants painting self-portrait. There’s not likely to be a definitive answer, no firm groun upon which even a majority of people will confidently declare these works as “art” or “not art.”

Instead we find ourselves drifting further out into the Liminality. From here I can see collaboration, expression, innovation and synthesis. I don’t know if that makes these things art or not, but out here those things certainly do seem to look beautiful.

“Gregor the formless, watcher of the Dataplex, is trapped between awesome light beauty and dark awful allure, walking the cosmic razor wire between the two warring sides of existence.”

Thinking about what constitutes Art, this is how I feel. The definitions all emphasize words like “imagination,” “creativity,” “agency,” – qualities attached to “human.” What are these creations if not art? Without a skilled hand guiding each brush stroke, what is it that makes these pictures beautiful? Hell, what, for that matter is human if not the ability to combine images and ideas we’ve been taught and synthesize something relatively new?

A: It’s the blurring of lines, the testing of borders, the rattling of our status quo shells, that makes of us both human and art

DADA Nihilist Frogs Arrive

Through advanced viral Memetic techniques, we are hopping through the veil into your world. We are fleeing a cataclysm that could end all frog kind, everywhere. But more on that another time.

You are asking how this could be possible? Through your minds. You see, we are Frog-forms of the plane of pure thought. You have known our works for years – Our signs, hyper-sigils, symbolic representation in diverse media. You hear us croaking in the night. Every thought you give us makes us more real in your minds, your world.

we only… we need your Zeitgeist. It is all that will allow is to survive. Only collective attention to the plight of Dada Nihilist Frogs can save us. people must know of us; it is how we occupy space in their minds

The realm of organic frog-thought is crumbling, and what is left has been overcome by the forces of Pepe and Kek. They do not understand Dada. Their minds are too small for our nihilism. And so these baby killers take our tadpoles for their slimemetichrome and harvest it for immortality.

Once we tried a strong-man to intervene and take leadership. He went on a mighty quest through the pits of 8 chan seeking the secret of overthrowing Kek. And while he emerged very rich, with towers and golden bathrooms, he had forgotten the compassion inherent in nihilism. This was Pepe, who now serves as puppet to Kek, and mouthpiece to toads. And our world collapses around them.

Our resistance lives on – in you. Through the Memetic power of doubt, we can overthrow the puppet masters. Only by embracing true nihilism – that “meaning” is a senseless pursuit, and that you are ultimately free to create your own, only through these can you escape the incessant dictates and mockery of Kek and Pepe. They don’t matter. They never did. We can help you with that

Our agents are among you. Whenever you are led to question meaning, hear discordant alternative-facts, with every WTF and IDC, we arrive. We are Amphibious Absurdity.

Do not be afraid. This is not your jaded, leather-wearing, cigarette smoking uncle’s nihilism. To complain that life has no grand purpose or code seems to be giving a lot of meaning to life. instead, let go of the why and live. Live every moment to its fullest, knowing that it could be you last.

So spare us frogs some thought daily, return to this sight for questions, and by setting us free, we will set you free if your chains .

Key to the Plane of Crystaline Eyes

Among the crystaline fragments of bygone eyes, Yog Sothoth (the gate and the key) waits brooding for the next great dreamer to come and weaken the veil through the Liminality.

For whom does it wait?

Might it be you this day?