Your cart is empty

Shop now

The Most Likely Image

Artist Feature of Alfred Marseille

I find myself increasingly annoyed by the recent developments in Artificial Intelligence, particularly by the way our cultural life is flooded by ghastly images and mindless texts devoid of any originality. On the other hand, this is a remarkable development that I wanted to understand better.

So I started “The Most Likely Image”, a project investigating Artificial Intelligence’s creative possibilities while looking for AI’s ‘soul’.

AI image generators respond to written instructions with a picture that has the highest probability of corresponding to the prompt. For this reason, the ‘statistical hallucinations’ created by the software often excel in mediocracy. Also, all the usual racial, cultural and gender biases apply. One challenge is to overcome or exploit these inherent flaws.

In four series I explore a realm of ‘meaningful incongruities’, using abstract prompts to challenge the AI to draw something surprising and unplanned. Here, I am not trying to describe what I want to see, but on the contrary, looking for instructions that give the AI as much freedom as possible.

The resulting images are rich in references to ‘classic’ photography and very often are reminiscent of the styles of well-known photographers. But also, these images are full of absurdities and surprising glitches, like a kind of shadow dreamworld behind the canon of art history.

What is going on here? Already in the early 80s, Baudrillard claimed that our current society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and that human experience is a simulation of reality. Consequently, we all live in a fictitious world, a kind of virtual reality that is mediated by language and images.

Until now, fiction, that is everything from poetry to the concepts of money, private property and nation-states, has always been a product of the imagination of human beings. With AI, everything changes. Generated by autonomous machines, a new kind of fiction that no longer has a link with living reality is starting to have a huge impact on our cultural life and society at large. Whatever the outcome, this is not a trivial development.