Exhibition at Art Basel Miami Beach allows visitors to create their own NFT – SURFACE
Artist Mario Klingemann’s AI-controlled regenerative art installation is the star of the digital art exhibit presented by energy-efficient blockchain Tezos, which explores the future of the NFT market, cryptoart and the relationship between humans and machines.
By Nate Floor
Produced for Tezos by Surface Studios.
November 30, 2021
One of the ancestors of the art of artificial intelligence, German artist Mario Klingemann never knows what his generative self-portraits can look like. “The one thing I always appreciate about working with AI is the ability to get results that you didn’t expect, or that are somewhat out of your control,” he says. “There’s a machine that’s your counterpart and you interact with it, and it does some things on its own, but at the same time you feel like it’s not random and you have some control. I like the middle space.
At this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach (December 2-4), Klingemann, whose artist name is Quasimondo, will launch an immersive installation that interacts with visitors to render abstract digital portraits using an algorithm embedded in the 2,500 square foot space. As part of the exhibition entitled “Humans + Machines: NFT and the constantly evolving art world», Participants will leave with their own non-fungible token created in collaboration with Klingemann on the Tezos blockchain.
Starring generative and NFT artists such as Helena Sarin, Kevin Abosch, Matt Deslauriers and Kelly Richardson, among others, the show will put one of the art world‘s hottest phenomena for the first time at the center of the fair. The exhibit is hosted on the open-source Tezos blockchain, a platform popular among creatives who embrace NFTs but are concerned about the high typing fees and environmental impact of chains like Ethereum.
For example, it has been reported that the recent musician Grimes Earth NFT auction consumes as much energy as a single resident of the European Union uses in 33 years and that Ethereum is responsible for 96,200,000 tonnes of CO2 since its creation, or the equivalent of the 84 least carbon-intensive countries combined. As a blockchain, Tezos uses a Proof of Stake (PoS) algorithm to create NFTs that are much more energy efficient than Proof of Work (PoW), which requires large amounts of energy.
During the exhibition, speakers and panel discussions will cover hot topics such as the metaverse, artistic trends and, of course, NFTs. Highlights of the list of environmentally conscious talent include generative nature-inspired images by Bulgarian artist Iskra Velitchkova, sci-fi and cyberculture-themed animations by Australian artist Sutu, and the octopuses of Turkish computer scientist Memo Akten, Distributed consciousness.
The biggest draw, however, is the Klingemann installation, which consists of six different screens fitted with cameras to film the participants. The images will be added to the “river” and the machine will use other images from its memory bank to create a portrait that is both playful and totally unique. Anyone who knows Klingemann’s work knows that his generative faces take on an almost cartoonish character. “I like the grotesque, and that’s what you always get with a network,” he says. “I like to play in this space. Faces are one of the most popular subjects in art because they are so versatile. You can really start from a colon and a line, or you can go hyper-realistic or even surreal. ”
Mark Soares, founder of the Blokhaus agency that oversees the marketing and communications of the Tezos ecosystem, compares the experience to the thrills that photographers get when developing a film. “We know the parameters, but you don’t know the end result. I equate it with being in the darkroom and seeing the image come out of the development bath. There’s that moment of “I feel like I should know what that would be like, but I don’t know exactly until I see it pop up.” It’s really lovely. It’s part of the magic of AI in generative art.
Creating with computers has always fascinated Klingemann who grew up in the 80s and 90s, when he became interested in the art of code, an emerging medium that had no name at the time. “I was probably an artist, but I wasn’t telling myself one because there wasn’t a model where I could see, ‘Oh, that’s what people do,’” he says. . As AI and deep learning technology evolved, Klingemann realized he was at the forefront of a new medium. “Ah, can you do that?” Using a computer, making art and calling yourself an artist? Once I understood that, it became a possibility and people became more interested in it.
Now the field of AI art is booming. As technology advances and new audiences discover the medium, the outlines of the art form begin to appear even though the exact details of what follows only fill in with time, just like the outlines of the art form. one of Klingemann’s faces. “The movie Her is no longer a total fantasy,” he says. “It’s only a matter of time until you can create an entire movie just by giving instructions or getting music depending on the mood of the moment. Machines are really good at producing things that grab our attention. And that’s what’s interesting, something that you focus your conscious attention on. It doesn’t have to be good or bad, beautiful or ugly. It’s just something that is unusual. This is where machines are really good because they can learn what we find normal and then measure what is different.
So what role will the artist play in the future?
“You must always be imaginative in what you ask for,” he says.
“Humans + Machines: NFT and the constantly evolving art world», Is presented at Art Basel Miami Beach until December 4th. A series of conversations about the NFT movement, the usefulness of blockchain as a creative canvas, the design of generative art algorithms, and more. will coincide with the exhibition and will be broadcast live on Tezos’ website.