Tag Archives: digital art


10 May

Artist Megumi Igarashi outside court in Tokyo, demonstrating the correct attitude to being convicted and fined for distributing one’s own vagina. Photo by Kazuhiro Nogi for AFP.

I seem to be mainly posting about genitals recently, but whatever. Agence France-Presse reports that Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi has just been fined ¥400,000 (about £2,500, €3.200 or $3,700) for crowdfunding a project to make a kayak based on a 3D scan of her vagina, said scan being made available to supporters as a perk. Yes, really. The only thing more (unwittingly) absurd than her (knowingly absurd) project? She was arrested for it, and the Japanese authorities have wasted taxpayers’ money in prosecuting her, then arrested her again for making plaster models and giving away vagina-data CDs. She’s going to appeal the sentence.


“My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal, which bothers some men. The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina… Yes, they don’t like hearing it and find it difficult to say whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.”

It’s hard to avoid the suspicion that somebody has it in for her, or at least that she got somebody in particular’s knickers in a twist, because although depictions of genitalia are technically (and stupidly) illegal in Japan the country is absolutely awash in traditional images of genitalia, not to mention good, bad and ugly pornography addressing every sexual practice, fetish and kink known to humanity and a few unknown to pretty much everybody apart from the Japanese. Why the authorities are picking on Igarashi in particular is a mystery… Especially when meanwhile in Kawasaki, among other places, this is happening:


かなまら祭り Kanamara Matsuri, ‘Festival of the Steel Penis’, Kawasaki, Japan.

Kanamara Matsuri and its ilk, like Igarashi’s project, seem about as close to clean, good-natured fun as you can get provided you’re not freaked out by completely normal things like human genitals.




18 Jun

What happens when you train an artificial neural network to recognise images, then turn the system around to start with random noise and evolve an image representing what it “sees” when you ask it about things that appear in pictures, which could be anything from a banana to a landscape? Apparently, you discover that the software is tripping its nonexistent tits off and hallucinating like mad.


Yes, this is a multi-eyed knight with a Rottweiler saddle and llama hand puppet, under a swirling sky full of snails, eyes and leering Breugelesque cow-dogs.


Google obviously have a lot of time and money invested in technologies for image searches and classification. The digital learning systems responsible for these images– some of which have been going viral recently, 99% of the time without any context whatsoever apart from LOL weirdness– analyse examples of what the programmers want them to learn. The whole process and concept is much more interesting and much more profound in its implications than its viral LOLness at first suggests. In the cases shown here, the ANNs were trained with a lot of animal images with the strange side effect that they see animals everywhere: in the clouds, in the trees, in a horse rider’s saddle. Like the classic bad tripper or paranoid schizophrenic they see watchful eyes everywhere. In humans it’s called pareidolia; false pattern recognition, seeing connections and structure where none actually exists. The classic example is seeing pictures in clouds. The networks sometimes harbour unexpected– but with hindsight strangely logical– misconceptions such as taking it as normal that dumbbells can’t exist without a beefy arm attached to them, because most photos of dumbbells also feature weightlifters. Horizons get pagodas and towers because that’s how people tend to picturesquely frame them in photographs. Trees are apparently hard to distinguish from buildings and therefore tend to get mixed up with them, and so on.

Edvard Munch’s Scream is even more disturbing with the addition of AI-paranoia sky-eyes, and the screamer himself gets a daft golden retriever-beagle makeover:


Continue reading


27 Jan


In this short post by Jerry Saltz, we learn that the artist Wade Guyton not only printed multiple, identical, indistinguishable copies of a “unique” work that was to be auctioned at Christie’s for between $2.5 and $3.5 million, possibly more, but he also showed off the results of his labours on Instagram in what could be interpreted as an attempt to taint the sale.


  • The auction has been given the horrible title If I Live I’ll See You Tuesday (from one of the works for sale) as if it were an exhibition and not a cattle market.
  • The “original” inkjet print was made from a digital file in the first place and therefore could be replicated perfectly at any time, in any numbers.
  • Christie’s are putting a brave face on it, but apparently they’re getting a bit scared that artists from within the system are kicking back against the sickening, high fructose corn syrup unreality of an international art auction industry that’s still in hysterical denial about an era where even capital-A Art can be infinitely replicable.
  • Christie’s delusionally think they have, or are brazenly claiming to have, a “gritty and underbelly-esq” [sic] side. With this level of embarassing neediness and such a tin ear for credible language it’s no wonder they chose to convey their grit with a promotional video of a skateboarder carrying on some edgy but unthreatening video speed-ramped shenanigans in the hip, street and far out daddio underbelly of Christie’s, alongside some gritty multimillion dollar art by off-the-hook, mad, bad and dangerous to know young bucks like Peter Doig. It’s a bit like a music video for a very minor hit by some hack alt-rock band from the mid 1990s. The Youth is into skateboarding, right? LOL, as I’ve seen the kids write on the interwebzone. I can’t embed the video, but you can watch it here if you want a good laugh/cringe. Christie’s posturing as edgy or in touch with contemporary culture is like an elephant trying to squeeze into your house for a casual breakfast with you.
%d bloggers like this: