A person has been able to receive the thoughts, emotions, intent transmitted by another across media. Maybe more amazingly, a person has been able to translate that transmission. Artistic transmissions are able to be sent by children to their parents, and across eons on cave walls. The most able are thought of as artists.

The word ‘artist’ conjures tools, media, constructs. It might bring up oil paints, museums, brushes and knives. Or cameras, lights, microphones.

Apple’s recent ad depicting the compaction of art tools into a single digital container (The thinnest ever! Uh cool, right?) touched a nerve. But the nerve isn’t specific to the iPad.

Art has been created and transmitted through a set of processes for hundreds of years with plodding advances over time. Even the current digital revolution has been going on for ~forty years. In the 90’s the comic book world bristled at Batman: Digital Justice which introduced digital art to a format famously in love with hand-craft. Now, no panel in a comic isn’t created or enhanced by software and digital craft.

What Apple may have revealed is a fear of the abstraction of art’s creation. How different is it to create a sculpture by hand than to use Photoshop to emulate one? Dramatically so. But how different is it for a consumer of both pieces to behold a photo of the sculpture next to a .jpg emulating it? Not very different.

Every new technology and technique has been examined dubiously, expected to bring art down from its higher purpose to a mere commodity. A system where the methods themselves are easily obtained and mastered by anyone with an idea. And here we are.

I’m producing an audio program, with no audio training, using digital tools and artificial intelligence to capture and improve the quality of the voices and sound effects. I’m distributing this ostensibly to everyone in the world, with the ability for you, with an interest in these topics (or perhaps brought here by the keywords within this very piece) to consume as much or as little as you desire, and to review as you see fit, even with no education in critical writing.

Creating a painting is easy. A billion children do it every week. Creating a painting that communicates a unique mix of emotion, intent, movement, context and that is effectively received by an audience is nearly impossible.

Yet, when it comes to AI tools, and we’re primarily thinking of those as Generative AI visual tools today (think Midjourney), we assume anyone can both provide the prompt and master the transmission of feeling. Is this so?

I had the pleasure of speaking with the following group to help me think through this bramble:
Amy Bryzgel is an art history professor at Northeastern University. She’s researched and published books on performance art in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Her current research looks at pedagogic
practices related to performance art in Eastern Europe, networks of development, exchange and dissemination. She’s studied changes in the practice and teaching of performance art going back to the 1960’s.
Double Plus is a working artist in sculpture and other media and also runs an alternative tea house, third space, art house, working with artists on events and installations. He is a prominent Prompt Engineer, exploring the limits of generative AI. He uses this pseudonym so his identity doesn’t affect the perceptions of viewers of his art.
Grace Ebert is a writer and editor with a background in literature and journalism, managing Colossal’s editorial projects and lead an artist workshop series. She’s taught, lectured and also serves on the board for Chicago Books to Women in Prison, and has co-curated At the Precipice: Responses to the Climate Crisis at the Design Museum of Chicago.

This show works better with you involved. Share your feedback at https://thatsnotaninsight.com/.

Music from Uppbeat https://uppbeat.io/t/bpmoore/call-ended License code: JXGDFVHZSYAMWRET

Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/adam-pierno/message

Categories: Podcast