AI, Process Art, and Aftermovies
"You Had to Be There". Also: Building Codes for Stairs, Dazed & Confused, and Rayleigh Scattering Sunsets
Jay writes about a jarring experience where he discovers an article about him that was clearly written by an AI. It was another realisation that the Dark Forest of the web will continue.
If we want to avoid entanglements with this machine sludge, we need to rethink the way they use the Internet. It’s happening alongside the collapse of web2. We are retreating into the Dark Forests, into smaller more human-populated cosywebs. Search engines are over, and becoming increasingly useless.
The only place we may be able to trust the quality and usefulness of an article is by subscribing to and following real content from real people. And those of us who are still going to keep publishing in public, on the wider web, will need to keep those real people close.
…and the brings it to an interesting conclusion:
But I can’t help wonder if things that artists and creative people might start producing, or be encouraged to produce, will be things that are illegible to machines. It’ll no longer be about the final output – that artists, musicians, and creatives have been taught to work towards over the last few generations. But instead, the process becomes the work itself. Maybe the making and creating of ‘the thing’ that will be the work thats shown to the audience, rather than the output itself which can and will enviably be copied or replicated by a machine.
Culture that can share its context and its process alongside its output well, is culture that will more readily succeed in an era where machines can replicate easily.
One such trend that in some sense isn’t old, but is changing in different ways is the classic “EDM aftermovie”. EDM’s popularity rose together with the rise of Instagram and social media. Part of its popular appeal was to show that you were there. And a part of the experience was to capture it. It gave rise to the aftermovie.
“You had to be there” is a phrase that the aftermovie captures. The aftermovie is process art. It can only come to exist as the outcome of a process. The event had to happen and you were a part of it.
In this year, Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour film is another example. While concert films and DVDs have always existed, the Eras Tour film is happening *during* the actual tour. There’s already a reflection of the process during it happening.
In the crypto space, Bright Moments have done exceptional exhibitions that take the process into account: where you can only collect NFTs in unique personal/physical experiences.
The recent collab with 0xdeafbeef is one such example: travelling like pilgrims to the tip of the world in Patagonia to collect new artwork.
“I don’t how to describe it. I’m living a dream” - one collector said. Another collector shares how strange it is to be so far away from what they know, yet feel so close to fellow collectors who made the trip.
Another example is the artist shl0ms blowing up a Lamborghini and then selling 3D scans of the objects as NFTs. The collectible is an outcome of a visible process. While process is a part of most art, it’s sometimes not shown.
Or, my own project: “Witness The Draft” where the artwork contains entries that was placed into a blockchain for 30 days while writing a novel in a month. The process is a part of the artwork.
The process of the production becomes a part of the eventual art. While the process has been a norm, with AI generated culture, process is being entirely rewired. AI generated culture discards process in favour of outputs. AI generated culture only works *because* it shortcuts the process to imagine.
For example: it’s amazing that I can feed the first chapter of my novel into an AI and have it produce a scene of its choosing in less than a minute. Process has condensed and compressed to being outside the domain of any human.
This picture means a lot to me. I almost cried when I saw it because I spent a year and a half writing this book, thinking about this opening scene countless times. It was the closest approximation to the picture I had in my mind. But, if you are new here, it doesn’t mean much: just another AI regurgitated picture. It matters to me, because my process was a year and a half of writing.
With AI redefining process, both physically and ideologically, it allows “process” to come out under the shadow of its predecessors and take a new place as a form of media in and of itself.
It’s like the audio grain of a tape recording, the 8-bit noise of a Gameboy, and the nostalgia of a lens flare. Where in the past, the process was a necessity, the process will become a choice. Context matters and the process will reveal it.
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Dazed & Confused & Time
Dazed & Confused is one of my favourite films. Someone said that if the film was made today, it would be about a group of teenagers graduating in 2006… which is close to when I graduated high school. 😅
It led to some discussions on why it feels like 2006 hasn’t aged (in some respects). I agree with Dean to some extent. Information dissemination has changed. Localised status games have collapsed into larger ones. We’re more of a global village and due to this, there’s less weirdness that can come to live by itself.
You’re not going to get a story like Rodriquez being famous outside his own country anymore because information distribution is too good.
Whether you like this trade-off or night, it’s the reality. We have a much longer tail of weird things, but all of the weird things now have to compete against all the other weird and popular things on equal footing. One result is that popular stuff gets more popular.
Creative Commons & AI
Ever wondered how Creative Commons interface with AI? Andres has a great write-up that condenses key arguments. I found the explanations of how copyleft interfaces with LLMs and derivatives interesting.
And finally, to train a model is not to create a derivative of a work, this is starting to come up in some of the ongoing cases, to make a long story short, it has been argued that all outputs generated by an AI are derivatives of all of the inputs, but this argument holds no water, when you ask Bard or Claude to write a poem, those words aren’t a derivative of this blog, or of any other input used in training. So the copyleft requirement is not needed because this only applies if there is a derivative or adaptation of the work.
There’s various calls for denser housing by US YIMBY’s. One example is to alleviate parking minimums near public transport (or altogether), and another is to follow suit of many countries in the EU, in that buildings doesn’t have to require two forms of egress.
Some localities in the US allows you to condense it into a double helix or “scissor stair” format.
I don’t have much to add here, except that I find it interesting. Hey, I’m still getting used to living in a country that mandates/requires smoke detectors.
Weekly Zora Mint
A Glass of Whiskey. A simple, beautiful oil painting of a beautiful thing. A glass of whiskey. By Noah Verier. :)
If you mint this from the link above, the newsletter earns referral fees.
Youth 83 - No Sun
What a great discovery. Solid driving ethereal synth track. Great for walking and driving.
That’s it for this week, friends.
Enjoy a sunset!
PS. I’ve been thinking of moving the newsletter to Fridays. My current writing process usually involves reading and writing on Fridays and half of Saturdays. It might mean that I don’t want to write too much on the weekends anymore. I’ll see. Not sure if anyone who writes regularly has any thoughts? When do you publish/write?