Friday, September 22, 2023

F ³: Who is an Artist? AI and the Lies We Learn

I was looking for a sign this morning. I think this was it. Please excuse the language.

"ai is making it so everyone can make art" everyone can make art dumbass it came free with your fucking humanity - -

AI - - artificial intelligence. Honestly, I have not delved much into the current conversation around it. But I do believe most wholeheartedly that everyone can make art. And I do believe that it comes free with your humanity.

Unfortunately, something else which appears to come free with humanity are people who love gatekeeping. Those are the folks that tell you that what you have created isn’t good enough, that it doesn’t qualify, or that it isn’t really art. People like that damage the essence/the inborn creativity of many, many people. 

When you do that often enough, people lose their confidence in themselves as artists. They lose their art. 

I am not just talking about visual art here. I am talking of all the arts - - including visual art but also music, dance, drama, film-making, writing, and more. Anything that is born of creativity and infused with imagination can be art. All of it can be destroyed by gatekeepers who believe that what makes art precious is its exclusivity: what makes this one piece excellent is that ten other were rejected.

Is it any wonder that we are being sold the idea that “AI is making it so everyone can make art”? By the time most of us have reached adulthood we have been guided, restricted, pruned, weeded, and downright censured by dozens of gatekeepers both big and small. What is left of that inner spark? Making art involves risk taking. Playing around with AI does not.

It can be “fun.” Why? Because we have made trusting our own artistic inclinations so decidedly un-fun

The older I get, the more I discover art in new places, and the more I appreciate the creative spark wherever I find it. What would happen if we thought of art as something natural in everyone rather than something that needed to be shaped by others like a topiary or constantly pruned like bonsai? What if what mattered most to us was the confidence and joy inherent in each creator and how that impacted their lives?

I’m sure I have much to learn about AI. But at the moment I’m inclined to be more excited by initiatives like this one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which open the gates and allow children to interact directly with materials that may very well spark their creativity.

I suppose that eventually we may have gatekeepers of AI art. It seems inevitable. As much as the desire to create is natural in the human spirit, so, it seems, is gatekeeping. Can it be unlearned, do you think?

Hope springs eternal.

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