Animation Obsessive has a great write-up on The Diary of Tortov Roddle. Great source for finding interesting animation. Also, Kunio Kato did the short, The House of Small Cubes.
“These tools represent the complete corporate capture of the imagination, that most private and unpredictable part of the human mind. Professional artists aren’t a cause for worry. They’ll likely soon lose interest in a tool that makes all the important decisions for them. The concern is for everyone else. When tinkerers and hobbyists, doodlers and scribblers—not to mention kids just starting to perceive and explore the world—have this kind of instant gratification at their disposal, their curiosity is hijacked and extracted. For all the surrealism of these tools’ outputs, there’s a banal uniformity to the results. When people’s imaginative energy is replaced by the drop-down menu “creativity” of big tech platforms, on a mass scale, we are facing a particularly dire form of immiseration.
By immiseration, I’m thinking of the late philosopher Bernard Stiegler’s coinage, “symbolic misery”—the disaffection produced by a life that has been packaged for, and sold to, us by commercial superpowers. When industrial technology is applied to aesthetics, “conditioning,” as Stiegler writes, “substitutes for experience.” That’s bad not just because of the dulling sameness of a world of infinite but meaningless variety (in shades of teal and orange). It’s bad because a person who lives in the malaise of symbolic misery is, like political philosopher Hannah Arendt’s lonely subject who has forgotten how to think, incapable of forming an inner life. Loneliness, Arendt writes, feels like “not belonging to the world at all, which is among the most radical and desperate experiences of man.” Art should be a bulwark against that loneliness, nourishing and cultivating our connections to each other and to ourselves—both for those who experience it and those who make it.”-Annie Dorson, “AI is plundering the imagination and replacing it with a slot machine.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. October 27, 2022
Strikes me as another example of the two computing revolutions. One is to make things easy with a touch interface. The other requires having deep knowledge of a complicated topic, such as building machine learning models – not to mention having the resources to do so at the highest level.
The point I would make is that creativity by proxy is still creativity. You may not understand how the A.I. generates its content, but we still can have an aesthetic sense about what is good and what isn’t that the A.I. doesn’t provide.
Deadtime Stories for Big Folk: Deadsy by David Anderson
“Recently criticism has begun to recognize more widely and to analyze in more detail the ways in which far-ramifying commercial organization makes for the dominance of herd standards. We have been shown, for example, how the syndicating of newspapers and magazines degrades their contents to what will please the majority; how, through the box-office, the majority dominate theatre, moving picture house, even opera and concert; how, in dealing with the careless and the gullible, advertising and propaganda tend to be substituted for intrinsic quality. On Justice Holmes’ ideal of ‘doing a thorough piece of work into which he put all his strength, and leaving it unadvertised’ an Englishman’s comment was ‘Can you imagine anything more un-American?'”-Daniel Gregory Mason, “Artistic Ideals I. Independence.” The Musical Quarterly. v. 12, No. 1 (January 1926), 1-7.
How to Write Poetry to Communicate With Aliens
“If you were to attempt to communicate with an alien lifeform, what would you want to say? And, just as importantly, how would you say it? It’s a question that has inspired countless science fiction stories and fueled real debate between scientists involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).
Now, a digital artist and academic has produced his own answer with a collection of mind-bending poems written in an artificial language that was designed for alien communications…
…In this way, Signals can be viewed alternately as a puzzle, an art piece, or as a bonafide icebreaker for interstellar chats. As to whether he sees aliens as the ideal audience, Carter said he is ironically pessimistic about the odds that humans will establish contact with an extraterrestrial species, but added that our urge to search for them is valuable on its own merits. At the very least, our calls to these hypothetical beings can help us evaluate our fragile yet beautiful place in the cosmos.
“I do wonder, in his heart of hearts, whether [Freudenthal] really imagined [Lincos] being used, or whether it was more an intellectual exercise for a human audience, which in many respects, a lot of alien messages really are,” Carter said. “They are not for them, out there. They are for us. They are our attempts at expressing ourselves to the wider cosmos, because the chances of us sending a message out there and it being received and understood is so infinitesimally low as to be almost meaningless.”-Becky Ferreira, “How to Write Poetry to Communicate With Aliens.” Vice.com. June 28, 2022.
Reminds me of a Zuihitsu phrase: “Every signal has a cost. No costs; no need to communicate it.” What does it cost us to create a poem in a language for aliens? And who are we really communicating with?
Art Is The Realm of the Problem
“I am troubled by how often people talk about likability when they talk about art.
I am troubled by how often our protagonists are supposed to live impeccable, sin-free lives, extolling the right virtues in the right order – when we, the audience, do not and never have, no matter what we perform for those around us.
I am troubled by the word “problematic,” mostly because of how fundamentally undescriptive it is. Tell me that something is xenophobic, condescending, clichéd, unspeakably stupid, or some other constellation of descriptors. Then I will decide whether I agree, based on the intersection of that thing with my particular set of values and aesthetics. But by saying it is problematic you are saying that it constitutes or presents a problem, to which my first instinct is to reply: I hope so.
Art is the realm of the problem. Art chews on problems, turns them over, examines them, breaks them open, breaks us open against them. Art contains a myriad of problems, dislocations, uncertainties. Doesn’t it? If not, then what?”-Jen Silverman, “Swimming in It: Art and (Im)Morality.” macdowell.org. April 21, 2022.
Artists Sell Feelings?
“People buy things for how things will make them feel. Desires for status, connection, and emotion. At its core, we sell feelings.“-Radia. “An artist’s guide to surviving NFTs.” mirror.xyz/radia.eth. March 12, 2022
What is art? Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, raise an interesting aspect about answering this question.
If we think about making art as a process, the art is all the decisions that are made in making something. What we call “art” is actually the artifact. When you commodify that artifact, it turns it into a product that people buy, and this brings us to this statement about people buying feelings.
I think the other end of the equation is more interesting. Why do people make things? Do people make things to sell them and have a livelihood? Some do. It seems obvious that this would shape the decisions that go into making the artifact. An artist looking to sell other people feelings is abstracted out of real experience. It’s a kind of alienation. I think the art will reflect that.
At base, if you are making art, the best art is part of a process, where you tap into something in yourself or maybe something larger than yourself. There’s nothing wrong with selling and making money as an artist. But, thinking of it as a product doesn’t improve the art.
NFTs cut the direct connection to the artifact. An NFT of a digital image is a claim of ownership but without a physical object or exclusive access to it. It’s a kind of deed, and deeds aren’t fertile ground for artistic inspiration. Even if we try to make analogies that art (the artifact) is somehow like homes, with all the good feelings homes give us, it seems patently absurd. I’d guess that is probably why NFTs are so incomprehensible to so many.
A View of Despair
A View of Despair is a really interesting visualization of suicide statistics in the Netherlands in 2017.
Effective Data Visualization: Transform Information into Art
“In this course, [Data illustrator Sonja Kuijpers] gives you the tools you need to transform data into captivating illustrations using colors, shapes, and images. Discover how to collect and analyze data sets, as well as how to transform them into a unique poster that tells a story. Are you ready to create your own data art?–Effective Data Visualization: Transform Information into Art
I never heard of Domestika, an online learning platform, before. This course seems awesome. Bookmarking for later.