Is AI Art Real Art? Harvard Arts Professors Ponder The Potential Of Artificial Reality

AI Art

It was not difficult to decipher the wall plaque identifying Edmond de Belamy as the male sitter, but his name remains a mystery. The composition itself is also unfinished. Look closely at the cursive Gallic signature on the lower right corner.

The AI Art community gasped as the General Adversarial Network print on canvas, , created , by, a Parisian art group called Obvious, using the algebraic algorithms, sold for $432,500 on October 25, 2018 at Christie’s New York, nearly 45 times the high estimate ($7,000 to $10,000).

The term “create” is a misnomer when used to describe the creation of visual art. The word comes from Middle English, meaning “to form out of nothing”, or by a divine being or supernatural force. It is derived from Latin create . According to Google Ngram Viewer, the use of “Generate art” is on the rise since 1800.

Nicolas Laugero Lasserre is a Parisian collector of art who bought the portrait from Obvious in February 2018 for EUR10,000 ($11430). He claimed both attraction and repulsion to the work . Richard Lloyd, the International Head of Prints & Multiples Department at Christie’s New York who oversees over 20 auctions a year, was intrigued by Laugero-Lasserre’s purchase. He owns artworks by Banksy and Shepard Fairey.

Artificial intelligence art includes images, videos, audio compositions or music that are created with AI tools. Digital art is fundamentally distinct from artificial intelligence, which uses digital technology to enhance the artistic process. It dates back to 1960s but is most commonly associated with 1980s.

Frieder Nake, a German mathematician/computer scientist born in 1938, created an algorithm that explored the use of vertical and horizon lines by Paul Klee, inspired by his 1929 painting Hauptweg and Nebenwege. He then created his own artwork, Hommage to Paul Klee.

Paul Klee ‘Hauptweg und Nebenwege’ [‘Highroad and Byroads’] (1929) Oil on canvas 83.7 cm x 67.5 cm


In the following year, Ken Knowlton (1931), a pioneer in computer graphics who worked at Bell Labs and Leon Harmon, a researcher on mental and neural processes, experimented with scanning a photo into a PC to create an image that they called a “computer processed creature.”

Experiments in Art and Technology was launched by Billy Kluver and Fred Waldhauer, along with Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman. A collective was formed that ignited a revolution in the integration of new technologies into artworks and performances.

Is AI its own genre or art form? Can art be created by the simulation of human cognition? What are the effects of AI in visual and performing art? It’s too early to call it, considering how digital art is still controversial and misunderstood six decades after its conception.

Liz Mineo is a Harvard Staff Writer and has written a new piece in The Harvard Gazette that shares the perspectives of Harvard professors who specialize in animation, architecture music, mixed-media arts, and writing.

Daphne Kalotay is a novelist, short story writer who teaches creative writing at Harvard Extension School. She recently judged a contest to examine the difference between great writing and good writing. She stated that the best human-written stories “surprised her” by displaying personality, linguistic uniqueness, and “inimitable detail that could only come from personal experience.”

Kolatay said that other stories had been written well, but lacked the elements of surprise and originality. “AI is an excellent mimic and a quick learner. It could easily produce strong works with recognizable modes and linguistic experiments if prompted. But — I think — it will lack real insight and experience.”

Kolatay warns that AI is most likely to replicate “commercial genres, with their easily identifiable styles and tropes.”

T Osvany Terry ,as a jazz musician, composer and senior lecturer at Harvard University, Terry is not concerned about AI.

Terry explained that “that sense of interplay or the ability in the moment to react is something artificial intelligence cannot reproduce, because doing that requires being smart and having the agency and curiosity to use your musical vocabulary,” Terry stated. Only then can you react and create music at the moment.

Terry reminded us that humans are the ones who create AI, and we should remain open to future possibilities.

Terry explained that “any new technology was initially perceived as a threat to status quo. It’s the same way radio received its first broadcast.”

Ruth Stella Lingford A senior lecturer in art, film and visual studies and an independent animation, Ruth Stella Lingford said AI is a threat to her career, but she cannot ignore it.

Lingford stated that AI is like a collective unconscious. “I find some of the things it produces to be very interesting,” he said. “I do not think that animations made by AI alone would be successful. However, with human input, I believe they could work well.

Matt Saunders ,, a professor at Harvard’s department of art, film, and visual studies and director of the undergraduate studies program, said that artists should be grateful for being challenged.

“I end up thinking in circles when I try to determine whether something is creative or comparable. We define art as we see fit. Saunders explained that it can be a provocative act, but is always a part of a discussion. “Many artists already use the inventions and provocations of AI to create works of great substance. But of course, the artists still bring it into the room. “If things change, perhaps that too will change.”

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