Jessica Field, Shame is only heavy when it hurts, 2021, digital print made from AI Algorithm, H 3" x W 5"
This work is an investigation of the idea of what is an artist’s gesture in new media art. Artificial Life has the capacity to infuse a drawing with a moving gesture. A map can be populated by entities who travel there, a drawing comes alive and embodies a gesture to give spatial insight into an entities’ experience. Using traditional drawing as a material, a machine can work with emotionally infused ideas to communicate for effect or to express a collective experience.
In being a simulation, the work imitates the appearance or character of what it tries to perceive as the human condition by using traditional drawing as an expressive material. The work pretends to have or feel, but it is ultimately a computer model. Thus, the work carries the principle of an artist’s gesture in the materials it works with but also in how its coded instructs them to live and to respond to these traditional art spaces.
In Photodynamic Art Generator, artist Jessica Field assumes the role of AI anthropologist, analyzing the patterns of digital entities to explore how human behaviour is influenced by our surroundings. Field is particularly curious about how the entities will reflect the universal experience of the stresses and rewards of undertaking a creative pursuit, examining the source of this stress and its impact on our psychological state.
The exhibit introduces us to a series of digital entities who are coded with dispositions akin to personality types. The entities are assigned a behaviour role as they embark on their creative endeavors toward certain locations along the Paths of Creativity, an allegorical map populated with the locations and factors that are at play when undertaking a creative act, including career pursuits, individual strategies, spiritual exploration, self-reflection and growth. The map conveys the symbiotic space between a creator and their objective.
Along the entities’ journey, their mental state is influenced by their environment both on the Paths of Creativity and by participant’s input via the Touch Screen. The dynamic results are displayed on the Psychological State Visualization, which plots the entities data on the visualization as a binary Cartesian plane, where each region is representative of various inner moods and tones. The entities then draw from their emotional states to create art, generating beautiful drawings that illustrate how our environment and the way we approach it has a direct impact on our psychological state and behaviour.
Field’s use of AI is unorthodox. Approaching the work as a code poet, Field allows the code to emerge from the social constructs investigated through the work instead of using existing code built for optimization. Deliberately starting with messy code to simulate the imperfect qualities of human beings allows the artist to observe the inner world of the entities’ experiences more closely and with greater detail. As Field analyzes the patterns that emerge, she is able to gain insight into the commonalities between the entities and human social patterns, allowing for the code to evolve over time as part of a collaborative process with the observed entities. Field’s pioneering approach explores how AI can embody an artist’s gesture in the creation of traditional art, generating drawings that reflect the human condition as the entities explore their inner worlds and experience their environment in real time.
The exhibition includes works in a variety of media including a book edition cataloguing the generated drawings of the entities’ inner lives and the drawings of the entities’ spaces that define their existence. There are three Ultra High-Definition Screens to show the virtual world the entities live in, their psychological space and the drawings they produce to illustrate their collective experiences. There is a user interface to interact with the entities and acts as a window to gain a deeper understanding of how they exist and evolve.
Jessica Field was born in 1978, Pickering Ontario, Canada, lives and works in Canada. Her work has been exhibited internationally and in Canada in institutions such as the Malmo Konsthall Gallery, Malmo Sweden, Museum Tingely, Basel Switzerland, Kunsthaus Graz, Graz Austria, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Montreal, Canada. Field’s work has received two honourable mentions at the Vida Life Art and Artificial Life International Award Competition for her Artificial Life projects SICB 2004 and Maladjusted Ecosystem in 2008.