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Accepted Paper:

Mutating Images: Tracing lines of order in works of art by artificial intelligence  
Jolen Martinez (University of Chicago)

Paper short abstract:

By analyzing AI-art as metapictures, how can we learn not only what a viewer “sees”, but what the viewer forges alongside imagistic vectors and visual grammars? When are held captive by the ethereal movement of AI, how do we contribute to a dominating image of “algorithmic objectivity?”

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, I dwell upon the phenomenon of movement within AI-generated artworks to ask how these pieces draw mutating lines that remain apprehensible to the viewer, interrogating the digital images produced by these machines and the orders of representation that they reference within their active drawings. In his book Picture Theory, WJT Mitchell refers to “pictures that refer to themselves and other pictures” as metapictures, or images that carry their own pictorial grammar that is apprehended by the viewer (Mitchell 1994: 35). In a Wittgensteinian sense, Mitchell invokes an “ordinary language” view of pictures and images, one which treats representation in images as orders of discourse that show processes of self-reflection and referentiality (37). I analyze AI-art along a similar lens, asking not only what the viewer sees when algorithmic processes morph a portrait, but what does the artwork enable the viewer to see in its display of a digital image? How do the lines that diagram portraits in Memories of Passersby I operate as vectors which, in drawing the contours of a figure’s face, also draw the viewer’s attention to the image’s underlying grammar of references? I argue that we should trace these lines’ transformations to the imagistic figures that undergird their visibility to us, the viewers. We should attend to the ways that the gaze of the AI’s ethereal portraits catches our vision and holds us captive through its perpetual movement and our respective anticipation for its rearrangement. Doing so, we find that these metapictures invoke a presupposed image of “algorithmic objectivity” as vectors which catch the viewer’s gaze and reproduce themselves as our own desire for computational order.

Panel P13b
Towards an anthropology of future images: ethics, politics, and creativity
  Session 1 Friday 10 June, 2022, -