AI art (ctd.)

February 18 2019

Video: Sotheby's

Here's a Sotheby's video on what they say is an 'AI' first; "the first self-contained, generative work of AI ever to appear on the market". The piece, called ‘Memories of Passersby I’, differs from that pedestrian blancmange of a painting - 'Portrait of Edmond Bellamy' - sold by Christie's last year for $432,000, in that it is actually partly made by Artificial Intelligence, as opposed to just a vaguely clever computer programme. The estimate is £30k-£40k. 

The most interesting thing about all these AI works coming up for auction is how the people behind them rely on portraiture from traditional, Western art, the most conservative art form there is. You'd think they'd chose something more original. But then maybe it's a bit like early cars being designed to look like horse-drawn carriages; there's only so much modernity we can cope with.

Update - a reader writes:

In the Sothebys catalogue entry for Klingemanns work it says ‘ Unlike earlier generative art installations Memories of Passerby I does not contain a database. It is an AI "brain", "developed" and "trained" by Mario Klingemann’.

This seems to [me to] be a bit of a fib, of course there is some data in there somewhere.

Effectively Mario Klingemann wrote some code that is fed into the CPU unit which process answers and learns from itself thus creating new images… But, and I’m no expert, he must have entered some data to start with for the unit to process – or given it some metrics – as a point of reference.

In fact he calls himself an artist working with 'algorithms' and 'data' – but Sotheby’s refuse to use these terms, I assume as they see them as boring, and and instead they call the computer a 'brain' and use the words 'develop' and 'train' to suggests he is more of a Jekyll and Hyde type, thus bringing some magic to the equation...

Really it’s not very different to the previous AI art sold by Christie’s – but Sotheby’s seem at pains to try to make it seem so.

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