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My Life as an Artificial Creative Intelligence: A Speculative Fiction

Wed November 29th 2023, 6:30pm
Event Sponsor
Department of Art & Art History
McMurtry Building
355 Roth Way, Stanford, CA 94305
Oshman Hall

In this artist talk, Mark Amerika shares his creative process as a digital artist whose symbiotic relationship with both language and diffusion models informs his artistic and theoretical pursuits. Turning to his most recent book, My Life as an Artificial Creative Intelligence (Stanford University Press) and his just-released art project, Posthuman Cinema, Amerika will demonstrate, through personal narrative and theoretical asides, how different rhetorical uses of language can transform AI into a camera, a fiction writer, a poet and a philosopher.

Throughout the performance, Amerika will ask us to consider at what point a language artist becomes a language model and vice-versa. He will also question what new skills artists will have to develop as they co-evolve in a creative work environment where one must maintain a playful and dynamic relationship with the rapid technical maneuvering of the machinic Other. Will a more robust, intuitive yet interdependent relationship with AI models require artists to fine-tune what Amerika refers to as a cosmotechnical skill, one that is at once imaginative and indeterminate, playful and profound, grounded yet otherworldly in its aesthetic becoming? And how do we teach this skill at both the undergraduate and graduate level?

Borrowing from Beatnik poets and jazz musicians alike, Amerika suggests that a continuous call-and-response improvisational jam session with AI models may unlock personal insights that reveal how one’s own unconscious neural mechanism acts (performs) like a Meta Remix Engine. Engaging with other artists and writers who have tapped into their creative spontaneity as a primary research methodology, Amerika will discuss how digital artists can train themselves to intuitively select and defamiliarize datum for aesthetic effect. In so doing, Amerika suggests that this is how an artist connects with their own alien intelligence, a mediumistic sensibility that takes them out of their anthropocentric stronghold and invites them to reimagine what it means to be creative across the human-nonhuman spectrum.


Mark Amerika has exhibited his art in many venues including the Whitney Biennial, the Denver Art Museum, ZKM, the Walker Art Center, and the American Museum of the Moving Image. His solo exhibitions have appeared all over the world including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the University of Hawaii Art Galleries, the Marlborough Gallery in Barcelona and the Norwegian Embassy in Havana.

Amerika has had five early and/or mid-career retrospectives including the first two Internet art retrospectives ever produced (Tokyo and London). In 2009-2010, The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, Greece, featured Amerika’s comprehensive retrospective exhibition entitled UNREALTIME. The exhibition included his groundbreaking works of Internet art GRAMMATRON and FILMTEXT as well as his feature-length work of mobile cinema, Immobilité. In 2012, Amerika released his large-scale transmedia narrative, Museum of Glitch Aesthetics (MOGA), a multi-platform net artwork commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices in conjunction with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. His public art project, Glitch TV, was featured at the opening of the "video towers" at Denver International Airport.

He is the author of thirteen books including My Life as an Artificial Creative Intelligence, the inaugural title in the “Sensing Media” series published in 2022 by Stanford University Press.

Photo Credit: Laura Shill

VISITOR INFORMATION: Oshman Hall is located in the McMurtry Building on Stanford campus at 355 Roth Way. Visitor parking is free all day on weekends and after 4 pm on weekdays, except by the Oval. Alternatively, take the Caltrain to Palo Alto Transit Center and hop on the free Stanford Marguerite Shuttle. If you need a disability-related accommodation or wheelchair access information, please contact Julianne Garcia at juggarci [at] (juggarci[at]stanford[dot]edu). This event is free and open to Stanford affiliates and the general public.

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