[AI Art Weekly] Hey Merzmensch, what’s your background and how did you get into AI art?
I have an academic background in Cultural and Art Studies. My main research focus was and still is on the Historical Avant-Garde (Dadaism, Surrealism, MERZ-art etc). Beginning with 2015, my attention was drawn to creative AI models (Google Deep Dreams, GAN, StyleTransfer, GPT-2/3, DALL-E, Diffusion Models). Joining online discussions between AI researchers, artists, and art critics, I’ve seen many parallels between the disruptive art movements of the 1920s and 2020s.
Observing creative developments around new technologies, I see it clearly: we are experiencing and shaping the new Art Epoch of Human-Machine creative collaboration.
[AI Art Weekly] Do you have a specific project you’re currently working on? What is it?
I work on several projects concurrently. My most important one is #reMERZ, where I am training various AI models on my poetry, essays, photos, and creating new visions of my work using AI. During my work on #reMERZ, I have discovered stunning connections and inspiring ideas that I may not have come up with on my own. I wrote an essay about this project on Medium.
[AI Art Weekly] What does your workflow look like?
Within #reMERZ, I have several workflow approaches. In one process, I allow AI to generate numerous new versions of my texts, curate them, and create AI-driven images. In another, I generate AI images and write poems inspired by them. It’s always a collaboration between my creativity and the creativity of a machine.
Sometimes, I even act as a creative agency for AI, for example, with the following short movie which I wrote about in my article Creative Collaboration with AI.
[AI Art Weekly] What is your favourite prompt when creating art?
My favorite kind of prompt relates to the artist’s studio, for example,
Artist in his studio <image>.
With such prompts, I want to unleash the creativity of a machine without influencing it with my prompts. Here, the main task is to create an art studio, but which artist will be depicted and which artworks, styles, and motifs are up to AI.
I am always fascinated by providing the machine with much freedom and seeing the creative ways it will use this freedom. I wrote about this in my essay Art in Art in Art (DALL-E, MidJourney, Stable Diffusion).
[AI Art Weekly] How do you imagine AI (art) will be impacting society in the near future?
AI will impact culture and society by enabling every creative person to fulfill their dreams, even if they are not skilled in particular areas. Not everyone is skilled in drawing, but everyone has dreams, visions, and ideas, and AI can enhance and augment human creativity in entirely new ways.
[AI Art Weekly] Who is your favourite artist?
I am always fascinated by Dadaists and Surrealists, and my favorites are Kurt Schwitters and Rene Magritte. These artists were exploring transmedial art before it was even invented as such; they were also fascinated by collisions of meanings, semantical shifts, and the questioning of reality. AI models are an exciting continuation of their take on scrutinizing traditional art and culture.
[AI Art Weekly] Anything else you would like to share?
Everyone can create, so don’t be shy, explore new terrains, and don’t be afraid of new technologies. Be a part of the new Art Epoch.