Note — Mar 17, 2019

The AI-Art Gold Rush Is Here

Excellent read by Ian Bogost on a quite fascinating intersection of art, history, AI, blockchain, and money. It also connects back to No.46 six months ago with that quote proposing that “AI will become a new medium for art.” TL;DR: the multiple angles through which we can look at AI in art and the plans of a weird team who are perhaps just using this to sell art analytics software. I'd like to read something discoursing on a parallel between this article and renaissance patrons (perhaps the Medici?), polymathic painters, rare colours, and frescoes.

[A] computer scientist commanding five-figure print sales from software that generates inkjet-printed images; a former hotel-chain financial analyst turned Chelsea techno-gallerist with apparent ties to fine-arts nobility; a venture capitalist with two doctoral degrees in biomedical informatics; and an art consultant who put the whole thing together, A-Team–style, after a chance encounter at a blockchain conference. […]

The best way to get away with something is to make it feel new and surprising. […]

Elgammal calls his approach a “creative adversarial network,” or CAN. It swaps a GAN’s discerner — the part that ensures similarity — for one that introduces novelty instead. The system amounts to a theory of how art evolves: through small alterations to a known style that produce a new one. That’s a convenient take, given that any machine-learning technique has to base its work on a specific training set. […]

The art market is just that: a market. Some of the most renowned names in art today, from Damien Hirst to Banksy, trade in the trade of art as much as — and perhaps even more than — in the production of images, objects, and aesthetics. […]

AICAN is neither a savior nor an annihilator of art. It’s just another style, bound by trends and accidents to a moment that will pass like any other.