This is part of a blog series where I share some thoughts on “art and creation”. I have prepared various blogs inspired by a range of sources from Kabbalah to Artificial Intelligence. Do not expect to find definitive answers. The aim here is to raise questions and offer entertaining thoughts.
The history of art has moved to a conceptual phase (even though that is debatable, for the shake of the argument, let’s consider this true). If all it takes for artistic creation is a new idea, then the process of creating art is drastically shortened. The enjoyment is severely injured. Be careful here, no one is saying that conceptual art is not art. No one can or should argue in favour of such ridiculous statements. However, it is true that as art is seeking to transcend its ideas, conceptualism can functions as the new stage of the aesthetic ideal that constantly pursues progress at all costs.
This ideal that seeks to transcend the history of art is running out of steam but no one knows, yet, how this is going to end, if it does. In previous blogs I argued that creating and appreciating art (the two sides of the same coin) need a certain (though indeterminable) amount of time to be enjoyed. However, it seems that we are now actively seeking the opposite, i.e. to shorten the amount of time we spend on making and enjoying art, to mass produce art and shorten even if sabotage an aesthetic experience.
If that is true, and I am sure it is and is not at the same time, then I think it might be interesting to engage in a negative discourse about art. Instead of trying to look for ways to optimize pleasure drawn from art I will try to find the opposite, the least pleasurable way of making art, the ultimate conceptual art. The way to create art that can truly provide the absolute minimum pleasure the creation of art can offer.
The ultimate point of this idea, I think, is automated art. Here are the three steps:
A human creates a software and asks it to make art without direct human intervention. The agency of the human creator should be there even after the machine makes the 1,000,000 reproductions.
In this case, however, the maker has still done quite a few things to create the artwork. They have made the software which is a creative endeavour, and have tasked it with making art. There is a directly indirect relation between the creator and the creation in this instance.
A human ask a software to programme a software to make art. At this point, the creative moment for the human subject is almost zero. A human is almost barely present in this process and the creator’s footprint is barely present in the final artwork. One could argue that in Step 1 the true artwork was the software but in this case things are so perplexed that one cannot be sure whether there even is an artwork present in the first place.
This is in my view the true end of art’s history, i.e. the point where the human subject is no longer involved even slightly in the process of art-making. An AI takes the initiative to make things that are new, unique, and lasting. The AI takes the initiative for reasons unknown to make art of its own. That will not be human art, and non-human art is no art at all. At this point the meaning of what is art is almost lost entirely in a series of endless dead ends. Who made this AI? What if another AI made this one , and if it didn’t, since the AI has will of its own does this question even matter? This AI will be making new things and/or ideas which means that it will be a real creator. Will it experience the benefits of creating? And if yes is the sense of fulfilment, pleasure, or joy an integral part of creation to the point that without them one cannot create? The analysis is far from over. However, the human actor has now reached the end of the line. The joy of an AI making art on its own rests entirely with the AI. No human can get involved in this process, and this is in my view the final chapter in the history of art.