“Mr Robot has some RAM (1 of 3)” by CJ Isherwood is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Art is this idea that anyone can create with almost anything, simply from a pencil, brush, paint, or other materials. Today, with technology developing more and more every day, it raises opportunities to change our lives. In doing so, AI and computers can change the way we create art, whether it is graphic design, photography, digital art, filming, music, editing, sculpting, or drawing on an app simply through your phone. Computers and AI gives us the of opportunity to create the way one perceives art in a modern-fashioned way. The more we advance through the changes of AI and innovate with these advancements, the more its technology and tools supports us with the advantages to create art in magnificent ways. The question above this all is, how does artificial intelligence and computers transform the way we perceive and design art? Throughout this paper, I will be discussing when AI and computers began to advance art, the types of art being created, how it advances our creativity, and if this advancement changes the way people see art along with if it encourages more people to create art with modern technology.
At the beginning of the 1950s, artificial intelligence and computers were being recognized to create art and become more creative. In 1952, Ben Laposky created images that he called ‘Oscillons’ which were images of the results from an oscilloscope. Oscilloscopes are devices that display voltage and electrical signals as waveforms. It was through photography that Laposky was able to record and display the movements of the waveforms. Through many ways the images were displayed as art, whether they were black and white, colored, or in motion (Laposky). In the 1960s, an output device called The Plotter was created to hold a pen or brush and would be linked to a computer which would therefore control its movements. The computer can program it to glide the pen or brush on the paper or move the paper underneath the pen or brush. Other plotters were named the drum plotter, flatbed plotter, and the electronic or microfilm plotter. The Microfilm plotter was an interesting device that worked similar like the original plotter but instead of a pen and paper, it used an electron beam that would trace on a microfilm (Chong). Throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, we began to see how technology was coming into and being put to use in everyone’s lives. PCs were introduced and now available to everyone to keep in their homes for business or personal use. In 1976-1977, Apple released their own personal computers and later in 1982 IBM released their personal computer. The concept of artificial intelligence began in the 1950s when Alan Turing, a British polymath asked why couldn’t artificial intelligence solve problems and make decisions like humans can. Five years later, a program called The Logic Theorist was produced to imitate human’s problem-solving skills. This program was later ended because many did not stay nor did they agree with the methods. Over the years, programs like this continued to be unsuccessful because of not enough funding or attention. It was during the 1990s and 2000s when AI began to officially take off, even without funding or attention from the public. From IBM’s chess playing computer program to speech recognition programs developed by Dragon Systems was the ideas that began to make AI more noticeable (Anyoha).
When it comes to art, it can be perceived in all kinds of ways to different people. Painting, drawing, writing, filming, sculpting, fashion, building, musical, and digital are some of the ways we can see or label art. Through all those ways, there are categories within them, which allows us to explore art more and be expressive in our own ways. Technology like computers and AI expanded our creativity and introduced more styles to different personalities and many ways to perceive them. Artist Refik Anadol uses machine intelligence and their algorithms to produce visualizations. He calls these visualizations, “Data Sculptures.” Anadol gathers millions of photos of cities, buildings, statues and removes people from the photos and proceeds to put them into a machine learning algorithm which then generates visual association as the machine learns. When the machine processes these images of these cities, buildings, or statues through multiple angles, the algorithm helps create a shifting image that presents the entire life cycle of these places or objects (How This Guy Uses A.I. to Create Art, WIRED). A similar display of art was presented in an exhibition by Culturespaces, they brought Vincent van Gogh’s painting and displayed it around the room with 140 laser video projectors to make it feel as if visitors were stepping into the painting, but they also included music and sensory to make it a more realistic experience (Taggart). Digital manipulation is the concept of turning art to digital art by using techniques to change artwork. This concept helps with digital art, which is a form of technology and computer that creates art. Animation is another way or creating art through technology, animation can bring a drawing or drawings to life by animating them (Schukei). Animation is seen through all types of entertainment including video games, films, television, and apps. 3D printing is another great example of how technology has expanded the way we create art. 3D printing allows us to create real objects with materials like metal, ceramics, thermoplastics, resins, graphite, plastic, and carbon fiber (Shahrubudin, Lee, & Ramlan). Sougwen Chung and her robot D.O.U.G create art in a unique way. Chung collaborates with her robot rather than programing it and making it do what she wants it to do. D.O.U.G, Drawing Operation Unit Generation 1, is the robot arm that she collaborates with to make an interaction experience between humans and computers. Chung lets D.O.U.G use their robot errors, distortions, and lack of motor dexterity to let the robot add to the artwork in its own way. Chung hooks the arm with a drawing utensil, places the arm on top of a canvas and lets it draw, while she draws with it showing that interaction between person-to-machine communication (SinoVision).
As more technology develops, creating art advances every day and gives artists more opportunities to develop their skills and express themselves in other ways. Photography is looked at as art and is a great way of expressing your vision through the photos you take, whether if it is photos of yourself, the city you live in, your adventures, animals, or of others. Photography is also an ideal representation of art and technology. Artists can alter their photos with editing and photoshop, which is all done through a computer. Virtual reality is an incredible product of technology that has advanced through decades. Virtual reality is used in plenty of ways including gaming, entertainment, education, and art. Virtual reality is defined in many ways such as it being a place of impossibilities, illusions in an artificial world, multisensory experience, and an interactive immersive space all generated through AI and computer programming (Simo). Shezad Dawood has a wide platform of creative work, working through film, sculpture, painting, language, site and narrative. Dawood has created a various number of exhibitions involving all of his types of art and are located in places such as London, New York, Norway, Japan, and Germany. He is well-known for his VR experiences, especially Leviathan. In Leviathan, we enter a virtual reality world of the future of oceans and how we have relationships with them. He was able to get in depth with the meaning behind his work by combining marine biology with coding, observing connections with human actions, climate change, marine ecologies, and the possibilities of our future that he thought might occur. Dawood’s work allows people to engage with the past and it coming into the present with his virtual artwork (Sharma). Janet Echelman is another extraordinary artist who took her art to another level and that are now displayed in different places in the world such as London, South Korea, Mexico City, Dubai, Indonesia, and Madrid. Echelman’s creations intersects with sculpture, architecture, material science, computer science, design, and structural and aeronautical engineering. Echleman uses data sets that either represent actions or natural disaster events like tsunamis or earthquakes to show a representation of the relationship we have with the world. Echleman and her team begin with a 3D model of her vision in the computer and then brought to life with engineered fiber that gets sewn to bring it all together the way she modeled it. Her team then displays her sculpture by connecting it from building to building in different cities around the world with lights projecting on it to give it more and color and life (Echelman). Wayne McGregor is a British choreographer and director who began using AI to create movement prediction. He uses AI to capture the movements of his dancers. It then proceeds to create new movements and combinations that still manage to relate to that specific dancer and keep their style. It begins with input; the camera captures dancer’s movement. Then, the tool powered by AI detects the dancer’s pose. Finally, it finishes with the output and expands the new movements in real time. AI predicting new movements creates a bigger canvas for choreographers and dancers to explore with and gives us a new perspective and experience to the future of dancing (McGregor).
Of course, many can have different opinions such as if art created by computers or AI should even be classified as art. Or questions like AI cannot create art and if it does then is it really art if not created by humans. Understanding these perceptions can be told through the schema theory. The schema theory is understanding the concept of the ways we perceive or feel about the knowledge and relationships we connect with objects, situations, or events. In this case, it can help us understand why some people might not see art the way others do, which can explain why they do not accept that computers and AI can make art because they do not see the relationship between these two objects. This schema helps with perceptions like what makes art more artistic than others, the way we view art and how it makes us feel. Joo-Wha Hong and Nathaniel Ming Curran conducted research to determine if people will consider AI incapable of producing art like humans can. Hong and Curran asked participants to evaluate 2 art pieces, one produced by AI and another by a human, then asked if they believed if AI can create art or not. The results illustrated that participants that had a certain schema such as believing AI cannot make art, influenced their evaluation of the art work but not because of their schema, more because of their stereotypes of artistic value (Hong & Curran).
Art is a way to show, express, and communicate your vision and emotions without speaking a word. As computers and AI transform and advance to greater things every day, it gives us more techniques to be able express these visions. Throughout the decades, artists and scientists have collaborated to make something out of technology and art. From recording images of soundwaves to recording movements with a machine to being able to own our very own PC for personal or business needs, all adds up to where we are now. The creations we can produce with all these types of technology-based art gives us a wider range to create new things. Photography, digital art/manipulation, 3D printing, animation, and computer programing/algorithm are just a few of the types of ways that computers/AI has intertwined with art. This development has given artists a broad range to create work like no one else has. With virtual reality, we are now able to walk in to the artists art work and experience it like never before. The mix of engineering, computer programming, data, design, and sculpture help advance work in many perspectives like it has done for Janet Echelman and her work that has been displayed in places all over the world. As amazing as all this sounds, not all people seem to believe that computer/AI art is actual art and real art only comes from humans. No matter what day in age we are in, everyone will have opinions and they will tend to believe the concepts they grew up with. People who did not grow with the era of art and technology, might not see how computers/AI have advanced the way we create art with it. Most people, simply, value the work made by human and their work put into the art piece instead of a programmed machine producing the work. For most artists, they see these opportunities to grow their artwork that can inspire others to use their potential at their fullest.
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