Thursday, November 01, 2018


 Coded Landscape Gouache on paper 15 x 21 cm 2015

Recently an AI generated portrait "Portrait of Edmond Belamy" was sold at Christies for nearly 45 times the expected amount. The work sold for over $400,000. You can read about it on Christies' site HERE . A collective called Obvious is behind the production. This is the first time an AI generated artwork has sold at a major public auction. The portrait and the sale have generated a lot of discussion [do Google it]. The fact that the product was promoted and sold by Christies certainly assisted its worthiness as news, and perceived value.

The AI program was fed "with a data set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th century to the 20th." (1) From my understanding, machine learning processes detected patterns in formal portrait characteristics. These then assisted the program to formulate a portrait which is meant to look human-made. This end-product is then printed onto a canvas. 

If you Google 'AI portrait', 'Portrait of Edmond Belamy' or other searches, you will find more information. You can then make your own critical judgments.

For a few years I have included painted algorithms, albeit simple ones, in my paintings. In this post I present a selection of these paintings, including some posthuman figures/portraits.

                                              Unseen Oil on linen 90 x 80 cm 2015

Strings of 'instructional' binary code help me form my paintings. These strings introduce colour, contour, shape, but they are also subject matter, complex subject matter. For example, binary code instructing the word LIFE forms the landscape contour in Coded Landscape [top]. Subject matter is multi-faceted - code, landscape, life. As a landscape, LIFE, depicted in code, poses questions about life in the era of the algorithm, the age of simulation - the 21st century. What is real and what is not real? 

Unseen [above] depicts a tree of life, one branch cascading around the canvas. This branch is a string of colourful binary code repeating the word LIFE. That instructional code is normally invisible is the key to this painting [in fact all of my 'code' paintings]. In Unseen, I have exposed code by hand-painting it in multiple colours. Each zero and one is different, not perfect. Human touch and gesture presents a subversive exposure! Rather than pretending to be human made, it actually is!

In Combat Proven, Long Range, Long Dwell [below], painted binary code for LIFE is targeted by an airborne weaponised drone. The drone's signals, exposed as radiating lines, detect and target LIFE. But, there is a twist, is LIFE easily targeted because so much of it relies on digital devices, cyber networking, online services and so on? The Grey Eagle drone is 'decorated' with binary code 'instructing' DRONE. Again, what is real, what is simulated, what is unreal?

Combat Proven, Long Range, Long Dwell Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2016


My Future Post Human Gouache on paper 42 x 30 cm 2016

A portrait as a question mark?

"So - in My Future Posthuman I've painted a figure with tree-like appendages, a multicoloured heart and a head shaped like a question mark - but the question mark is formed from two rows of binary code 'instructing' the word 'Human'. Hence, the question mark!" From my previous post My Future Posthuman 

Imagining the Posthuman Gouache on paper 42 x 30 cm 2016

This posthuman's spine is binary code 00111111 'instructing' a question mark ie: ?

The posthuman's head is a tree?

Is This a Post Human? Gouache on paper 42 x 30 cm 2016

Vascular System for Post Humans Gouache on paper 42 x 30 cm 2016

Vascular System for Posthumans actually has a 'face'. Two eyes, or are they two zeros? The 'vascular' system is coded with a repeated question AM I ? Certainly a portrait is something that is meant to disclose something about the AM I ? type of question.

Am I  - what - who - where?


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