No, this isn’t clickbait. Our new algorithmic overlords churn out their artistic take on our festival’s line-up. The result? An AI-generated mish mash of equally bizarre yet oddly compelling graphics. OK, Computer.
Many of our films, especially the exciting new indie features, We’re All Going To The World’s Fair and Strawberry Mansion, feature the cohesion of technology and basically everything else. You name it: Dreams, horror, time travel, and even art.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is advancing everyday as we know it, and terrifyingly so. It always feels so far removed from our daily lives that I assumed only coders and tech bros have any real use for it, but I couldn’t be more wrong.
How this programme works is mainly through drawing from the vast images made available internet on the internet—think of a database that has learnt, broken down, and can replicate any style of artistic greats. Add splashes of contemporary modern art into the mix and you’ve got the next great masterpiece all in one place. Better yet, you can manipulate it all to create your own one-of-a-kind piece of digital art.
In this process, when you’re writing prompts for the computer to decipher, you’re giving up complete control to the ~algorithm~ and that’s precisely the beauty of it. There isn’t art without imperfection. And with the experimentation that comes with the digital world, your prompt and its results are anything but boring.
With our lineup being bizarre, beautiful and slightly manic, the results rendered not only in response to our films but the combinations of them, reflect as much. The images can be confusing and downright uncomfortable – our festival in a nutshell. But this blend of real life and tech is jarringly intriguing, art is perhaps the most human form of self-expression and maybe it’s the internet’s too.
Inspired by Strawberry Mansion
While the AI doesn’t know what the film’s really about (it only computes the words I run into the system), I think it nailed it. The psychedelic daydreams and bittersweet romance of the film somehow made its way into this art piece too without having it be explicitly written into the prompt.
I was going for “Italian mafias battling with space aliens” (a homage to our documentaries Shooting The Mafia and The Prophet and the Space Aliens) but it kinda looks like the programme had different plans. My interpretation of the result? Maybe the mafias are riding on spaceships with rainbow fumes. Cute.
Inspired by We’re All Going to the World’s Fair
This is perfectly PG but kinda freaks me out with its subtle creepiness. And that’s why it’s also one of my favourite pieces so far. We’re All Going To The World’s Fair is about growing up with the internet and navigating the real world alongside the cyber realm. Capturing that loneliness, both pieces of art mixes in the visual elements of internet horror that creeps up from the margins from both films perfectly. What’s not to love?
Inspired by The River
This screams all kinds of uncanny valley. Inserting themes of family struggle and neck pains situated firmly in Taiwan into the prompt, the blurred faces are reminiscent of a sprawling nightmare that you can’t quite remember all the details of when you’re jolted awake. Not too sure where the programme was going with this and I’m not too sure I want to know either. For a less jarring version, just watch The River.
Inspired by Belladonna of Sadness
Pretty sure there’s a mix of Studio Ghibli in here somewhere amidst the flying witches and Japanese-inspired background. Belladonna of Sadness, a groundbreaking animation with some of the most stunning artwork, is dizzyingly pretty—a respite for the heavy subject matter. I like how this artwork compliments the film subtly without giving away too much.
Tigers Are Not Afraid is one of my favourites from this year’s lineup, equal parts terrifying and inspiring. This graphic somehow captures the nature of the twisted events that the children go through, while retaining the magic realism of the film. The alien motif and attention to the eyes come from On the Silver Globe, blending the otherworldly elements of the contentious Polish sci-fi film perfectly in the artwork.
Inspired by Annette
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you told the internet about puppet babies and musicals, then asked it to create an art piece, well, this is it. No, the shitty internet connection is not what’s creating the grainy texture, but a deliberate addition by the AI. There are so many things going on at once, and I don’t know about you but those figures kinda look like a cartoon Adam Driver.