An AI wins a fine arts competition

An American won an art contest with an image generated by artificial intelligence (AI).

When AI starts painting

Jason Allen, a.k.a. Sincarnate, is an American entrepreneur who won first place in the digital arts category of the Colorado State Fair art competition with a work entitled Space Opera Theater.

The work resembles in every way a Renaissance painting… except that it would have been entirely generated by an artificial intelligence software called Midjourney a tool accessible to all that allows to generate images from a description text.

Recently, tools such as Midjourney have become extremely popular on social networks, and are now extremely easy to access and use.

A screenshot from the Midjourney Discord showing a request that a user has fed to the system, with the image generated in response. (Source: The Verge)

A week of work

Allen described a week-long creative process that led to the creation of his work. To do this, he generated hundreds of images, and refined his queries to the AI over the weeks. He also used about ten percent Photoshop in the process. He then submitted the image under his name with the addition“via Midjourney” – though he did not explain what exactly Midjourney was.

The business leader explained that he wanted to make a statement about the acceptance of AI-produced art by intentionally using an image of Midjourney in an art contest. “I feel like I accomplished that, and I’m not going to apologize for it.

Allen further stated that he had suggested to the competition organizers that they introduce a category for works by artificial intelligences, which they are apparently now considering.

The furious art lovers

Allen has since been accused of cheating, and especially of participating in the “death of art” by art lovers on the internet. The tweet of Genel Jumalon, an American artist criticizing this method, has indeed been retweeted more than 10,000 times in two days, proving the concern of many people about the growing abilities of artificial intelligence.

Twitter user OmniMorpho said, “We are witnessing the death of art unfolding before our eyes – if creative jobs are not safe from machines, then even highly skilled jobs may become obsolete. What will we have left?

Another user wrote:“This sucks for the exact same reason we don’t let robots participate in the Olympics. “

Allen responded to his critics by stating that they were judging art by the method of its creation, and that eventually the art world will recognize AI-created art as a category in its own right. “And if we were to look at it from the other extreme, and if an artist was subjected to a series of extremely difficult and complicated constraints in order to create a work, let’s imagine that he did his work while being suspended upside down and being whipped“, he said. “Should the work of this artist be evaluated differently from another artist who would have created the same work “normally ” ?”.

Despite the controversy, the victory only encouraged him.“I wouldn’t stop now,” he said.“This win has only emboldened my mission.”

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