Painting has become simpler over the years, but has always remained firmly in the hands of man. The classical artist was also a technician: he also had to choose the pigments carefully.
Will today's coach also be an artist? Neural networks are the new brushes, data is the new pigments. Only the hand is missing: that will also be non-human.
Refik Anadol knows something about it, and in his latest exhibition at the MoMA he takes this hypothesis to the extreme consequences.
Unsupervised: the new artist is an artificial intelligence
The colossal installation just opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is a square digital display measuring 24 by 24 meters. What does it do? It fills the entire hall of the MoMA and broadcasts an endless stream of "works", each of which is born from the interpretation of an artificial intelligence drawn from all the works in the museum.
A flow somewhat controlled by what is happening around: the end result is that the installation seems literally alive. It's hard to describe her, you can only get an idea from this "backstage" clip from her previous exposure.
Not only the titanic dimensions of Unsupervised, but also its contents are compelling: the succession of fantastic images that almost "breathe" arouses deep emotion.
It's like looking at a portal between different dimensions, and somehow that's what's happening.
We are already passing by "supervised" artificial intelligences (they were born yesterday: you write and they create an image. Examples? Dall-E2 or MidjourneyAI) to "Unsupervised" intelligences, hence the name of the exhibition.
We risk finding one a handle weapons and shoot on his own, but also one who becomes an artist of cry.
How does Unsupervised work?
Over the course of six months, the software created by Anadol and his team (with the collaboration of Nvidia) "trained" itself on 380.000 very high-resolution images taken from over 180.000 works of art held in the MoMA galleries.
Everything ended up in the cauldron: from Picasso to Warhol via Boccioni and Salvador Dalì. Even the Pac-Man by Toru Iwatani. The artificial intelligence got "an idea of him" (starting from a model) and started producing new images.
Surprising for all participants. First of all curators, almost moved to see how 200 years of art history are "born" in a new way. Is it real art, to the extent that it arouses real emotions? and theartificial intelligence can, can he be "artist"?
For now he's like an eccentric workshop student. And the master is a visionary, a "modern wizard". Indeed, many masters: those who created the neural network, those who built the training model and the visionary who coordinated them. Refik Anadol's technological proficiency was insane.
What he and his team have accomplished is amazing. The images have unprecedented resolution, are created in real time and change according to the movement of the audience and weather conditions. These inputs drive forces that affect different levers of the software, which in turn change the way Unsupervised creates images.
The artist survives
For the next four months, this artificial artist will continue to create a new universe, and maybe even after that. After all, Unsupervised is a synthesis of all the art that lives in the museum, the very embodiment of the MoMA.
In other words, the art that lives in the museum feeds this artificial artist who lives next to it, adding something new to the collection every moment. Something so mind-blowing that it could actually open the portal to a new universe.