We live in two worlds. The first world is a world of endless beauty. It’s a world of raw perceptions, a kaleidoscope of fabulous colours and forms. The second world, the one we live in most of the time, is a world of stories that we tell ourselves and others to try and navigate the first world.
The interesting thing for me about the What Androids Dream series is the way that it illustrates this observation. I input some of my completely abstract paintings into the AI engine of the DeepDream project to see what it might “find.” I was amazed and enchanted by the strange, alien, but strangely familiar, creatures and cityscapes that it “discovered.”
I noticed how my mind began to invent stories about the creatures and their world. At the same time, I recognized that there weren’t any stories. That these were just figments of my imagination. As the stories evaporated in the light of this insight, I began to appreciate the raw beauty, the freshness of the images that simply existed as their own truth and beauty,
Of course, the stories were fun, too.
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What Androids Dream Series
This series was created by collaborating with the artificial intelligence at the heart of the DeepDream project. I input some of my completely abstract images to the software to see what patterns the AI would find in them. The results are the series that I call What Androids Dream. A sort of homage to Philip K Dick, the series anticipates the coming Singularity when even artists may be superseded by machine superintelligence.
I find the alien creatures that the AI “finds” to be strangely endearing, like the “hopeful monsters” of the Cambrian explosion — perhaps even an electric sheep or two for Philip K Dick’s android’s private amusement. For me, the images create a mental atmosphere of sci-fi, psychedelic surrealism filled with strange, dreamlike stories.
There seem to be many stories going on in each image — stories that are private and unique to each viewer, stories that are unique to each viewing: