By Jesse Nolan
Despite the general sentiment of unease among artists about the advent of AI, several artists have embraced the "it's just a tool" mentality. AI in the arts has experienced a significant boom in 2023 with various artists leveraging this technology to create unique and exciting works. Here are a few highlights:
Jon Rafman, a Canadian artist, has been using AI in his work for several years. His large-scale, algorithmically generated paintings have been showcased at Sprüth Magers in London. He also created a 40-minute film, "Counterfeit Poast", which was entirely generated from AI imagery and used an iPhone facial motion-capture app to animate the characters.
Mario Klingemann, a German digital artist, has been working with AI since 2015. His works use neural networks to generate a never-ending stream of portraits. He's developed a project named Botto, which is aimed at creating an entity that can be perceived as an autonomous artist, with a community of human stewards that vote on Botto’s proposals, thereby curating its output and indirectly steering the artistic development of the machine.
The PATH-AI artist residency programme, developed by the Alan Turing Institute in London, the University of Edinburgh, and the RIKEN research institute in Japan, is another notable project. Artists like Nouf Aljowaysir, Chris Zhongtian Yuan, and Juan Covelli were selected for this program. Aljowaysir, for example, created a film, "Ana Min Wein (Where Am I From?)", which follows her immigration path to the US, with an AI assistant supporting her journey in the film.
The AI art revolution has brought new opportunities and challenges to the field. On one hand, AI systems increase the productivity of those who adopt them, which could be particularly useful in sectors where quantity and speed are primary factors. On the other hand, there are concerns that AI could lead to a steady decline into a monoculture where everything looks and feels the same.
As for the market in AI art, it's expected that the value might drop as the supply of cheaper work increases due to the ease of generating images with AI.
Clearly many of the objections about AI in the arts are well founded, but as with everything in the creative industries, time moves forward and innovators get rewarded.