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Aesthetic oxymorons

But what does a Art Deco Buddhist temple look like?

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| Finished • Artificial Intelligence |

Earlier this August (2021), the New Yorker published an article on the 'Poetic Misunderstandings of A.I. Art.' To lead in, the article referenced a photo from the Twitter account @images_ai. The prompt from the GAN, in this case, was: 'Art Deco Buddhist temple.' The generated image was wonderful. The work had that familiar dream-like quality of most of CLIP's generative art, where no form is quite seperate from another form, nor quite defined. Everything is recognisable, yet decidedly unreal. The temple itself retained both the thin, rectangular facades of the eponymous architectual style, and the Oriental symbols of the religious movement.

Anyway, this image got me thinking. How many other apparently contradictory or at least mutually estranged aesthetic movements can I ask VQGAN+CLIP to combine?

Neon Ancient Greek Temple.


Ancient Greek Neon temple

See what I mean? The degree of abstraction of still-recognisable aesthetic forms — the arcade of Ionic columns in the centre, the Attic stone, the neon bars — continues to astound me, and is indicative, I think, both CLIP and humanity's mental abstraction capabilities.

Smiling Winston Churchill.


Smiling Churchill

This is a bit of an insult to the British leader, but I could not for the life of me remember seeing a picture of him smiling. In fact, my attempt to visualise that scene in my head caused immediate repulsion. The same could be said of CLIP's attempt. There's certainly some smiling going on, that much is certain. There's something vaguely facial, too, in the centre. Moving on.

Deafening Silence


Deafening silence

This is the classic textbook oxymoron. The resultant painting is quite interesting — CLIP's made a clever association between these auditory words and the image of an ear; perhaps the muted tones of the imagery surrounding the ear reflects th e idea of 'silence'; while the agrresive strokes of the ink are a symbol for the mental strain of the 'deafening' aspect?

Japanese ink paiting of cyberpunk 2077


Japanese Ink painting

This one is almost my favourite. The neon pinks of the Cyberpunk aesthetic shine through, so does the characteristic yellow of the game in question. Then there's the watery wash surrounding the key figures, the vaguely billboard-esque shapes in the top right. And yet the pink could almost be Sakura?

Brutalist disney fairytale


Fairy tale

Yep, looks pretty Brutalist to me. The greys, the harsh blocks, the concrete arches. Are those Mickey Mouse's ears? The bottom centre is perhaps Belle?

Cluttered minimalism


CLuttered minimalism

This one is quite abstract. There's certainly a simplicity of form. The real question is: but does it spark joy?

Space cricket


Space cricket

I can spy aliens, and cricket lawns, against a galaxy-esque backdrop.