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Really modern art: An AI art exhibition secured by NFTs

An exhibition featuring contemporary works that push the boundaries of our understanding of art

Latent Landscapes 4 by Harshit Agrawal
Latent Landscapes 4 by Harshit Agrawal (Terrain.art)

Terrain.art, a blockchain-powered digital platform that focuses on art from South Asia, has curated Intertwined Intelligences, an exhibition featuring contemporary works that push the envelope on our understanding of art. It showcases the work of six artists—Pindar Van Arman, David Young, Scott Eaton, Harshit Agrawal, Sofia Crespo and Feileacan McCormick—pioneering “AI art” and has been curated by Agrawal. The artworks, secured on blockchain using Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), are a first step towards building an ecosystem for artists practising newer forms of art, including generative art, neural art, and machine-learning and AI-assisted art, says the gallery.

Tiny Networks of Everything by Sofia Crespo
Tiny Networks of Everything by Sofia Crespo (Terrain.art)

Also read: An art show about bad hair and forbidden shadows

“AI has evolved exponentially since the show in 2018. We are presenting 3D creatures that resemble life forms but are generated through algorithms, and the Augmented Reality feature allows viewers to truly engage with these digitally native creatures,” says Aparajita Jain, founder, Terrain.art, and co-director of Delhi’s Nature Morte gallery, which showcased India’s first Al show in August 2018. Agrawal explains that each artist has used AI to imagine alternative realities of common natural subjects, themes that might be considered “passé” in mainstream art today but have been re-imagined and re-interpreted.

Sarah_15146 by Pindar Van Arman
Sarah_15146 by Pindar Van Arman (Terrain.art)

The artists add their own creative dimensions to what can roughly be called “AI art”. Sofia Crespo and Feileacan McCormick of Entangled Others Studio train their AI on hundreds of insects to imagine new insect creatures, generating novel 3D forms and functional descriptions of their various body parts. These insects aren’t simply a re-creation of their natural counterparts, but rather an artificial life imagined and created purely digitally by the ‘mind’ of an AI, guided by the human artists.

Meanwhile, Scott Eaton creates visually magnetic abstract human forms. He achieves this by training his AI and machine to learn the essence of human skin and lighting from his own photographic works and applying them to abstract figures he sketches. Pindar Van Arman combines several forms of AI to mimic his style of portraiture, while always looking forward to the transformation the AI is able to execute through feedback loops.

Unnamed artwork by David Young
Unnamed artwork by David Young (Terrain.art)

David Young constrains his AI to minimal data in the form of photographs he takes of flowers at the moment of blooming. He then manipulates the results of the AI with his own (non AI) generative algorithms to tap into his AI's understanding of aesthetics.

Humanity (Fall of the Damned) Second State by Scott Eaton
Humanity (Fall of the Damned) Second State by Scott Eaton (terrain.art)

Sofia Crespo works with datasets of labeled drawings of various life forms found in nature to imagine new representations with the help of her AI. She then probes at these generations from the lens of scientific inquiry. Harshit Agrawal works with the traditional theme of landscapes to blur the boundaries between digitally imagined and natural realities. He enables his AI to imagine dream-like, non-standard, yet familiar compositions of landscapes to which he adds subtle, but realistic motion.

Gilded Mechanical Gripper Beetle by Feileacan McCormick
Gilded Mechanical Gripper Beetle by Feileacan McCormick (Terrain.art)

Intertwined Intelligences is on view at Terrain.art until 20 August.

Also read: For the third year, Anish Kapoor leads the Hurun India Art List 

  • FIRST PUBLISHED
    16.08.2021 | 09:00 AM IST

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