Slides from Prompting Images of Digital Life Workshop @ Arebyte Gallery

Yesterday I ran a workshop at Arebyte Gallery as a part of their Digital Training Sessions.

Interview Walkthrough of surfacecollider space for New Art City Festival 2023

I chatted about the New Art City surfacecollider space with the brilliant Sammie Veeler. The work was a part of New Art City Festival 2023.



Re-Living the Rendered Image through AI.

I’ve been putting some of my rendered images through Stable Diffusion – an open source AI image generating platform. This is an example from a series of images made by asking the AI to reimagine the renders as 4 bluebottle flies sitting on a rock.

surfacecollider New Art City space for Six Minutes Past Nine

The surfacecollider space that I was invited to build as part of an online residency with the curatorial platform Six Minutes Past Nine is now live and can be accessed here:

Digital Evolution (ii) @ surfacecollider

Digital Evolution @ surfacecollider

Bringing the Twitter Timeline into surfacecollider @ New Art City.

Image Objects: Internal Reflections of the Digital World Space.

Reflecting the HDRI map (a high colour-intensity image wrapped around the digital world space) in the surface of digital objects. In Blender, the material that the object is made with is fully reflective and metallic, meaning that the visual appearance of it’s surface is entirely determined by it’s environment. The form of the object from which the image below is rendered is distorted through cloth physics.

this metaplays Form

this metaplays Form, (2022), was commissioned for the exhibition To Spawn a Door in the Land of Broken Mirrors, which was shown as part of New Art City Festival 2022 and screened at the Mock Jungle exhibition space in Bologna, Italy. The exhibitions were curated by artist and curator Nacoca Ko.

I lie back and shut my eyes. I’m in someone else’s sleeping bag. Trying to force my legs into it is like trying to put your fingers into out-of-shape gloves – where the topology of the inner lining has become misaligned from the outside of the glove. I push my legs through and concentrate on my thoughts. They have become visual. Behind my eyelids I can see colours. They are shifting and shimmering and melting across more than two dimensions. What I’m seeing is a simulation of digital space – one that somehow aligns the physiology of my body and its perceptive capacities with visual imaging machines. They have become the same thing, my body and the computer. Like the backs of my eyelids are computer screens and that space between my body and the screen has dissolved. It’s similar to a psychedelic experience I suppose. Is the computer inside me now? Have I become computational? 

Using the above speculation as a prompt, This metaplays Form (2022) inserts text generated by 2 machine learning models into a slippery 3-dimensional world where computers do our thinking. Computational dreams of the digital subconscious; slimy, slippery images of a data-driven world melt across the timeline, whilst fragments of text, merging in and out of focus, give voice to a back-and-forth conversation between two machine learning models. GPT-3, a natural language AI trained on the Internet before 2019, talks to a second model tuned to generate hybrid texts spliced together from the writings of Katherine Hayles, Donna Haraway, Legacy Russell, Mark Fisher, Vilem Flusser, Deborah Levitt and Brian Rotman amongst others. We can only see small splinters of this conversation – weird phrases generated by this multi-authored model treat written words as icons, largely emptied out of any inherent meaning. Is digital synthesis now so detached – so pure – that the alphabet has become outmoded? This metaplays Form muses upon a cyborg space at the threshold of the screen, which, whilst acknowledging the liquid crystal barrier of the computer display, uses the inner workings of its underlying software and hardware to ruminate on possibilities of techno-otherness.

this metaplays Form from James Irwin on Vimeo.

A birthing (this metaplays Form)

Elsewhere Node (Notes on Antidepressants) @ HOAX

A page from the surfacecollider (Code becomes Image) project has been selected by HOAX Publication, and is live here now.

Eleswhere Node (Notes on Antidepressants) is a web based artwork combining code generated imagery, text and sound to explore how the shiny-hyper-glossy objects of digital images, which can often feel cold and distant when we look at them, might produce new tacit forms of experience when they collide with personal narratives and tales from the other side of the screen. The soundtrack to the work is a voice recording of recent writing exploring and describing the world as I see it – my personal day to day experiences. The tone and content of the text mirrors and describes my subjectivity as it is affected by antidepressants.

Net Reflections

CharRNN Model trained on my reading…

I trained a charRNN Machine Learning (ML) model on a dataset of texts from the bibliography of my research. The text that it generates makes little sense – there isn’t a linear unfolding of narrative structure, for example, or a development of an argument over time. It’s poetic through. Purely visual.

I’m experimenting with working the model into the surfacecollider website now – using a comment box placed in the bottom-right corner of the window to let users ‘prompt’ the model to keep writing…

Squidge Material Test (WIP)

Removal: A moving image work for a Jason Isolini directed project at Anonymous Gallery, New York (curated by Offsite Project, London).

A new moving image work, made in Blender, for a 360 degree video collage directed by the artist Jason Isolini. I worked with the ever brilliant My Panda Shall Fly, who produced the sound to accompany the images.


Removal from James Irwin on Vimeo.