art

a photo of daisy with digitally altered colors
daisy impression
colorful digitally altered photo of a sunflower
sunflower impression

VQGAN + CLIP + Unreal Engine + Surrealism

I enjoyed Rusty's explanation of the VQGAN + CLIP Unreal Engine trick in Today in Tabs yesterday (subscribers only, sorry). The gist is that people have found a way to improve images created with machine learning by including the phrase "unreal engine" (yes, the Mandalorian-powering video game technology) with their prompt when they ask a GAN to generate an image of that prompt.

Rusty included a link to a colab notebook that could run this particular GAN—VQGAN+CLIP—so I started playing around with it. I know next to nothing about AI or Machine Learning, but I can run code! I tried out the unreal engine trick and the results reminded me of Yves Tanguy paintings.

My next thought was, "why not feed it some lines from surrealist poetry"? (Or their English translations anyway.) So here are a few of those:

VQGAN+CLIP generated image using a surrealist poem phrase, vague castle in a blurry landscape "a meaningless castle rolled along the surface of the earth."
– André Breton, Soluble Fish

VQGAN+CLIP generated image using a surrealist poem phrase, vague night scene with various lights "it is the star struck under my heel in the night."
– Robert Desnos, The Landscape

"The river I have under my tongue"
– Paul Eluard, The River

VQGAN+CLIP generated image using a surrealist poem phrase, a vague flower and vague clock; some fire "where we live the flowers of the clocks catch fire"
– Tristan Tzara, The Great Lament of my Obscurity Three

The other day I linked to Nick Cave saying that AI lacks the nerve to create great music. How about visual art? Seeing machines struggle to make what humans make is interesting, but I don't think the results are inspired. Again, I have no idea how to tune these tools to get more interesting results and maybe further tuning or more attempts would create better images. Right now I think we haven't progressed beyond Hayao Miyazaki's thoughts on art by artificial intelligence. (spoiler alert: "I strongly feel that this is an insult to life itself.")
The Atlantic
"Over the past decade, the blockchain has become a refuge for people who need another place to rest their assets. For global tycoons, it’s just an alternative to parking their money in some real estate they would never visit."
Anil Dash (father of the NFT?!) on its origin and the current state of his problem child.
AP News
"A huge bust of York, a Black man who was enslaved by William Clark and who was the first African-American to cross the continent and reach the Pacific Ocean, is sitting atop a pedestal amid a lushly forested park in Portland, Oregon. It was placed there in the dead of night last weekend by persons unknown."
This is an amazing project. I didn't know about York.

Zombie Python

Back in 2015 I ruined good art by Audubon, Rothko, and Albers with a Python script that creates a low poly version of an image. I put the script on GitHub and forgot about it.

Until today! Someone submitted a pull request that updates the script for python 3 and some newer versions of the dependencies. I got it running again to test it out:

photo

This is a low poly version of Van Gogh's Wheatfield with Crows.

In conclusion, coding in public is good and maybe there's a hidden demand for generating triangles with Python.
window-swap.com
Video of windows from around the world. Very nice tour of other people's views.
artvee.com
"Browse and download high-resolution, public domain artworks."
Endless art scrolling.
Closeup of Lichtenstein’s Crying Girl
Lichtenstein
Circular art on museum wall Closeup of circular art, dots in a golden ratio distribution maybe
Grabner
photo of a vintage wooden cat sculpture with fish in its mouth
carved cat
the-camera-in-the-mirror.tumblr.com the-camera-in-the-mirror.tumblr.com
Google Maps has had indoor street view for seven or eight years now. This site collects images of the Google Maps robot caught in the mirrors of those interiors. The juxtaposition of lavish preserved 18th century decor with the utilitarian machine eye feels like something out of a Kubrik movie. And the lack of humans in most pictures makes it look like a post-depopulation survey.
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