Oct 31, 2022 - Technology

Exhibit aims to present AI images as real art

Ellie Pritts' "Liminal Reprise" used Dall-E to explore the themes of consciousness and enlightenment

Ellie Pritts' "Liminal Reprise" used Dall-E 2 to explore the themes of consciousness and enlightenment. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

A new art exhibition in San Francisco showcases some of the unique ways that artists have begun to incorporate Dall-E 2, GPT-3 and other AI systems into their work — efforts that go well beyond just typing some text and seeing what pops out.

Why it matters: The exhibit, "Artificial Imagination," comes amid a broad debate over the legal and artistic merits of AI-created art, as well as concerns that more powerful computers could take jobs away from humans.

"Artificial Imagination" includes a range of work, from videos to still images and sculpture.

  • While many of the pieces used Dall-E 2 to help generate images, others took a different approach. Alexander Reben, for example, used text generated by GPT-3 and then built his interpretation of the computer's description.

Between the lines: The artists and curators said the exhibition, believed to be the first of its kind, is an important recognition that AI art is indeed art.

  • "I think it is really important to showcase right now that this is a new medium," said Ellie Pritts, a pioneer in the space who uses AI-generated images to create video pieces. "There are serious artists; this is legitimate work."
  • Other artists include Mixpanel founder Suhail Doshi and August Kamp, a trans multimedia artist and musician.
  • Day One Ventures helped come up with the idea for the exhibit and brought in Dall-E 2 creator OpenAI in as a partner.

The big picture: The debut of Artificial Imagination comes as society is grappling with how to understand the advent of AI art on a variety of levels, from who owns the work to its impact on artists.

Yes, but: A number of the artists that took part in the exhibit liken the current moment to similar hand-wringing the accompanied the arrival of the camera. Its ability to capture scenes with detail and precision didn't end up killing art and eventually paved way for photography, a whole new art form.

Practicalities: The exhibit is open to the public through Dec. 29 at bitforms gallery.

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