The Subject Changes

The Subject Changes is a poetic live simulation of a capricious character, endlessly shape-shifting while negotiating his/her ambiguous world. The character sets out on an indefinite dérive – a frantic exploration – where fragile relationships with the world-cum-stage and its occupants are established or broken down. His/her state is ornately reflected in a constantly mutating attire, a fluctuating embodied masquerade — the virtual body as an encoded aesthetic artefact.”

Created by Vienna based Depart (Leonhard Lass and Gregor Ladenhauf).

When a harm ends, how can we make Amends?

In his latest work “Amends”, artist Kyle McDonald is auctioning three sculptures – from which the proceeds will pay to mitigate the historical emissions of three major art NFT marketplaces. The sculptures are both digital renders and physical handcrafted glass blocks, each filled with a material used for carbon removal and prevention. But they will only go on sale when Ethereum (finally? actually?) transitions away from proof-of-work. And the sculptures will be shipped to the owners of the NFTs—if they burn their NFT.

McDonald says: “The science shows that even if we end all emissions today, we still need to remove hundreds of billions of tons of historical greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and ocean. In tech the motto is ‘move fast and break things’, but those broken pieces are haunting us. Changing things going forward isn’t enough. This work represents a major opportunity to take responsibility for a small portion of our impact on the environment.”

AI and literature

I recently got an invitation to test the MidJourney beta, which is an amazing new AI app that generates images from text inputs. I’ve been playing with it for a while but I also spent hours just watching other people using it in a dedicated Discord server. It was a very funny and interesting experience and I got some amazing visual results, especially when I came up with the idea of feeding the algorithm a literary input instead of a merely descriptive sentence. Here are some images the app produced me based on some famous books incipits.

imagine/ The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. – William Gibson, Neuromancer, 1984

imagine/ It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. — George Orwell, 1984, 1949

imagine/ “Psychics can see the color of time it’s blue. – Ronald Sukenick, Blown Away, 1986

imagine/ Once upon a time , there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person. – Anne Tyler, Back When We Were Grownups, 2001

 

Dracula Daily

Dracula Daily is an email newsletter by Matt Kirkland that sends you a chapter of the Bram Stoker novel Dracula, written as a series of dated diary entries, news clippings, letters, etc., in realtime on the actual date of each entry between May 3rd and November 10th, the dates between which the novel takes place. The newsletter launched in May 2021 and became increasingly popular during its 2022 run, particularly on Tumblr, where it caused memes and posts about Dracula to trend.” – more info here

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NFTs do not go bad

Michael Moynihan: “Can you explain to people who might be confused as why a very smart, sensible man like yourself, would spend 500,000 dollars on a jpeg?”
Metakovan (aka the most famous cryptoart collector): “I can have it forever because it’s on the blockchain, I DON’T LOSE IT and IT DOES NOT GO BAD”.

Computer Art pioneers: Joan Shogren

I’ve been studying early Computer Art quite a lot in the past ten years, but I just discovered a new artist I never came across before. Click here for the story of Joan Shogren, a secretary who, back in 1963 (so before Micheal A. Noll and Frieder Nake, but also before Sol Lewitt’s conceptual wall drawings based on instructions), “suggested that computers should be able to ‘design a picture’“.
Joan’s artworks were exhibited two years before the famous “Generative Computergrafik” exhibition at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart in 1965, which is generally considered to be the very first computer art public show.

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DALL·E 2

“Artificial intelligence company OpenAI has released its latest creation, called DALL-E2 — a genuinely impressive demonstration of the power of generative adversarial networks. The system can turn simple text descriptions into photorealistic images. While that may sound like a simple task, it’s deceptively difficult for a machine learning algorithm to pick up on the cues of natural language, nevermind produce the crisp, evocative images that OpenAI is showing off.”

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