AI Reinterpreting History: Robot Studies

Before photography was embraced as an art form its primary role was one of documentation and observation. Unlike painters, who witness the world in real-time, the camera has the unique ability to freeze motion. Many photographers explored this attribute by studying the motion of humans and animals, and occasionally the two combined. Eadweard Muybridge was most well know for these efforts, documenting hundreds of scenarios, starting with the documentation of a horse running (to prove a bar bet). Other practitioners of that era who also did motion studies included Thomas Eakins, Etienne Jules Marey, and Ottomar Anschutz. It’s argued that these motion studies inspired early exploration in cubism by the artists Edgar Degas and Marcel Duchamp. In my study, I am using the Midjourney AI to reinterpret that same history, specifically, how would robots have appeared in these same studies if they had existed then? Using a machine to visualize how another machine would fit into a history that it knows it doesn’t belong in.

Note: I was unable to explore how AI would interpret Thomas Eakins due to nudity filters on Midjourney, unlike the other three artists I mention above, Eakins only did nude studies of humans.

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