The Aesthetics of the Digital Image - Fabiola Larios on a Collaboration Between Humans and Machines
Interdisciplinary artist Fabiola Larios studies and dissects the ways in which we use the internet, looking at the blatantly human aspects of online culture. Fascinated by the aesthetics of this use, Lario works with digital collage, video, AI and Machine Learning to explore how we are shaping the internet through our everyday interactions on the net. In the pursuit of finding symbiosis between machine and man-made, the Mexican artist has turned herself into a human greenscreen and written the ‘11 Cybercafé Commandments,’ amongst other projects. She has exhibited work at cultural centres throughout the Americas and online.
We spoke with Larios about her natural progression towards working with Machine Learning, the ways in which technology offers tools to artists, and digital self-reflection.
Can you tell us about your practice, and how you ended up working with AI and Machine Learning?
I’m in pursuit of the aesthetics of the digital image to convey the collaboration of humans and machines. Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto project of viewing the world as one of tangled networks, part human and part machine, greatly influenced me. I began my practice conveying these human-tech relationships through Digital Collage, Visual Poetry, and Glitch Art. My curiosity and experimentation with Machine Learning further expands the human attraction of merging with machines.
In what ways do you see Machine Learning further entangling with the human in the coming 5 years?
Machine Learning has evolved in different areas, transportation, facial recognition, medicine and surely its practical uses for day to day will be more visible within 5 years. Related to my practice I see it as a useful experimentation tool to create based on the data you are collecting, create art from data.
Looking at online & offline exhibitions, what do you think about traditional painting and sculpture being represented in the online space? Would your latest work have the same resonance if it was exhibited online and offline?
These are hard times for artists, traditional art being represented in the online space is just another tool for artists to show their work.
I think my latest work would have a different impact offline because of the aesthetic experience. The online preview of this artwork and the AR helps you place it in a real environment.
Tell us about “Internet humans: A selfie of the internet,” the work you exhibit for Electric Artefacts. What was your process and where did these selfies come from?
Having permanent augmented filters in real life is interesting to me because of the popularity of social media filters. AR performative portraiture allows us to capture playful moments, and share an aesthetic expression. When researching ML my exploration of artistic face recognition to socially connect led me to create a dataset from selfies. “Internet Humans'' is inspired by research output from thispersondoesnotexist.com.
Learning the process of gathering online selfie information allowed my trained machine learning model to reveal our popular visual self-relation with smartphones.
What are the challenges in being a digital artist?
Creating and experimenting ideas that progress the nature of art and technology for myself and the spectator is a nuanced skill I work on. The practice of being a digital artist also greatly challenges my creative process of creating art that can be acquired and purchased without being a physical object.