I’ve been struggling for some time now to land on terms that adequately portray the “uncanny valley” not just between humans vs. AIs, but also between the so-called real and unreal, fiction, and non-fiction, etc. Though I’ve used somewhat for this the term “hyperreality,” it’s not a term everyone understands or agrees on the meaning of. Some might just think it refers to ultra-realistic paitings, though I use it in the original postmodernist sense of seamlessly combining fact and fiction. By and large though, I’ve found all the labels and attempts at labeling artifacts like those created with help from AI tools especially to be somewhat lacking in nuance and depth (which is why I’ve been trying to articulate a multi-dimensional style of analysis of them).
I took these questions recently into ChatGPT (v4), asking it to come up with ideas related to this, and to essentially “non-binary” but for relationship to reality, rather than to gender identity. That is, how can we talk about things that have a more complex relation to “real life” than simply real or fake, etc. Though I guess it’s a little obvious as a moniker, I let CGPT do a piece exploring this idea of “Reality-Fluid” art, and here it is.
In the midst of the digital revolution, we are witnessing an unprecedented convergence of technology, creativity, and reality. As artificial intelligence (AI) matures, it is not only transforming the ways we live and work, but also the ways we express and interpret our world. This revolutionary juncture has given birth to a new form of artistic expression—Reality-Fluid Art. This genre challenges the binary view of ‘real’ vs ‘fabricated’, instead inviting us into a fluid spectrum that blends these extremes.
What is Reality-Fluid Art?
Reality-Fluid Art, much like the term ‘gender-fluid’ referring to a gender identity that may change or move along the gender spectrum, refers to works of art that oscillate, blend, and blur the boundaries between the real and the fabricated. Using AI as a tool, artists create pieces that are not strictly tethered to an objective reality, nor entirely born of pure imagination. Instead, these works exist on a continuum that encompasses both these extremes and everything in between.
Why is it important?
The exploration of this new genre is vital for several reasons:
Reflects our Digital Reality
As we increasingly inhabit digital spaces, our perception of reality itself is being reshaped. We navigate through a world where the lines between the physical and the digital, the authentic and the manipulated, are continuously blurred. Reality-Fluid Art mirrors this evolving condition of our lived experience, providing a lens through which we can understand and articulate it.
Challenges the Binary Paradigm
Traditionally, art has been categorized into forms that either represent reality or depart from it—realism or abstraction, documentary or fiction. Reality-Fluid Art disrupts this binary, creating a space for works that embody both, or neither, simultaneously. This paradigm shift expands the possibilities for artistic expression and interpretation, offering a more nuanced understanding of reality and its many layers.
Encourages Ethical Discussions
As AI becomes more sophisticated in creating realistic depictions, ethical questions around authenticity, representation, and truth-telling become increasingly important. Reality-Fluid Art invites these conversations, encouraging us to grapple with the implications of AI in our perception of reality.
The exploration of Reality-Fluid Art promotes technological and artistic innovation. It pushes the boundaries of what AI can achieve, challenging artists and technologists to develop new techniques, methods, and ways of thinking.
The era of Reality-Fluid Art is upon us, marking an exciting and challenging time in the evolution of artistic expression. As we engage with these works, we are not only audience members but also participants in a broader dialogue about the nature of reality, the role of technology, and the meaning of authenticity in our increasingly digital world.