In Eric Drass’s brief article about machine-generated artwork ideas, he brings up some interesting ideas about the creation and analysis of art, and how art can be potentially influenced by automated systems such as the one which he has created. Although the system creates “art ideas” by randomly selecting words and phrases from another dataset, I agree with Drass that there is a bit of humanity beneath the assortment of descriptive phrases. I visited his page several times, each time attempting to visualize what the suggested masterpiece might look like (admittedly difficult when one of the ideas involved a sculpture formed of cooked couscous). After many attempts, I began to appreciate the ability of Drass’s system to describe what could, in some instances, be a man-made sculpture or other visual display. Nonetheless, among the 88 nonillion (30 zeros) possible artworks, some are certainly going to be incomprehensible nonsense, and I found that to the case for a few of the suggestions. Still, I think Drass is accurate in claiming that these machine-imagined ideas have a bit of human complexity within them.
However, I do not support Drass’s idea about creating these machine-imagined works. While the idea of using these ideas to automatically generate sculptures through 3D printing or other means is intriguing, I do not think that the result of such a process could truly be classified as art. One of the defining features of art is its subjectivity. Most great art is not created with a specific idea in mind, instead it is left open to the viewer’s interpretation. The limited scope of Drass’s four sentence descriptions would impede the ability of the work to convey ideas and feelings beyond the ones that were automatically chosen.
Above I have included an example of contemporary art, which is a arguably one of the more subjective art forms. The variety of meanings that art such as this work captures (or lacks entirely) could not be represented by a model of Ironstone, Coffee, and Collotype that suggests frustration and dignity.