Art Created by a Machine

Art has always been linked to different changes in the “culture’s technological” evolution.
This has had a heavy influence on how art was perceived by people. Technology is also the reason why art creation changed with the apparition of “artificial intelligence”. From 2015 onwards, art discussions revolve around art produced by computers.
“Like the invention of applied pigments, the printing press, photography, and computers, we believe machine intelligence is an innovation that will profoundly affect art.” Some of the artists have accepted the modern techniques, however, others stick to the traditional ways of painting. Either or, the “machine intelligence” is rejected or not, is here to stay and to change the art world.

World’s First Selfie

In 1839, Robert Cornelius in Philadelphia, a chemist and photographer took the first selfie using a procedure named daguerreotype, which “was the first publicly available photographic process, and for nearly twenty years it was the one most commonly used”.

Robert Cornelius’ first selfie, 1839, Philadelphia, SUA

Artwork created by an algorithm sold at Christie’s

 Edmond Belamy’s portrait created by an “algorithm” was sold at Christie’s on 23rd -25th  of October, 2018 for $432,500, “signaling the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) art on the world auction stage”. The portrait represents a man, probably French, whose face is not very well defined, the whole figure is moved to the upper right, and are blank areas on the print.

Edmond Belamy, AIGAN created image sold at Christie’s, 2018

“A label on the wall states that the sitter is a man named Edmond Belamy, but the giveaway clue as to the origins of the work is the artist’s signature at the bottom right. In cursive Gallic script it reads:”

The artist’s signature is also done by an algorithm. Three French students under the name of  “Obvious” created the “print “ using a borrowed algorithm from a “19-year-old Robbie Barrat, a recent high school graduate who shared his algorithms online via an open-source license”. They recognized they used the algorithm, although it has been changed. They didn’t provide further comments, yet this is an alarm signal for the AI artist community because they have to keep their eyes on the outside hijackers from now on. From 2015, a technology named GAN (Generative Adversarial Networks) was used to create art via artificial intelligence. The Belamy portrait is a result of this procedure. There are several Belamy portraits created by “Obvious” as seen below.

The family of  Belamy portraits

Le Comte de Belamy, La Baronesse de Belamy, Madame de Bellamy – AI art

Le Duc de Belamy, La Comtesse de Belamy, Le Cardinal de Belamy-  AI art

Robbie Barrat,  Landscape, AIGAN image

Among the machines’ programmers who create art, Robbie Barrat is a very well-known name in the art industry. The AIGAN art produced the Edmond Belamy’s portrait sold by Christie’s.

Robbie Barrat,  Nude painting 6, AIGAN image

Another system used by a computer to produce art is named CAN (Creative  Adversarial Networks) and is used by the Art and Artificial Intelligence Lab at Rutgers University in New Jersey. It acts as an “autonomous artist that has learned existing styles and aesthetics and can generate innovate images of its own” Ahmed Elgammal, the head of the department said about the system. A lot of the machine work is abstract, that means that somewhere in his path he got some “art progress” instead of reproducing compositions from the 19th century. The artwork was part of exhibits around the world and one was sold for $16,000.00 at an auction in New York City.

Saint George killing the dragon,  by AICAN was sold for $16,000.00

The Birth of Venus by AICAN. Ahmed Elgammal, Author provided picture

It is a long way until machines will be able “to think freely”. What is going on right now with the GAN and  AICAN systems is that the machine is fed with a large number of images (portraits, landscapes etc.) and based on the algorithm it creates its own images.


Author: Rozalia Mos

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