A hypercanvas is a higher-dimensional work of art, workspace, landscape as well as map, and process of discovery & exploration within and around latent spaces made accessible via AI and machine learning tools.

The hypercanvas as a meta-work encompasses all of its individual static artifacts manifested as a byproduct of the exploration of the work itself, plus its cultural context(s) both for the author and for other viewer/explorers (of which the author becomes simply one of many traversing this particular section of latent space).

Artists engaging in the creation of hypercanvases become, in a sense, documentarians and tour guides of these higher-dimensional spaces and states of mind afforded by AI/ML tools. They bring back snapshots, sketches, glimpses, snippets of audio & video from this Otherworld, which they are able to actually visit, and enable others to actually visit by sharing aspects of their hypercanvases with others.

Through this process, artists create artifacts using AI/ML tools to map out portions of the vast and mysterious latent spaces into navigable hypercanvases, dense networks of connection and meaning. Each creative iteration or movement an artist makes within a latent space becomes a brush stroke in the greater work, actualizing another fragment of the broader latent potential into a perceptible manifestation, turning the life of the imagination into a tangible object.

The US Copyright Office is obviously not a native inhabitant nor speaker of the language of this new higher-dimensional latent reality exposed through the lens of the hypercanvas concept. Their arguments in Zarya all stem from the assumption that the “art object” resides solely in the single image artifact, and it only extends to the boundary frame of the image itself.

They are flattening or reducing the actual higher dimensional work, to try to contain it within criteria intended for other older media. So when they try to analyze questions of authorship, originality, and creativity, they have a hard time finding answers to their satisfaction, because their frame is too small to incorporate the larger art object which is happening at the level of the hypercanvas. But the way art happens when artists use AI tools is much bigger than that, and extends well beyond the frame of the individual image itself, incorporating so much more.

Traversing these unfamiliar latent creative tools and territories requires on the part of the artist learning the language and logic of how tweaking parameters transforms the generative spaces, and how they are able to journey through them. They exercise and develop skill and judgdement and creativity as they actively explore. This immersive familiarization through sustained deep experimentation with the tools engenders, in turn, a process and flow state which at its height becomes akin to perhaps to a meditative or psychedelic exploration of imaginal spaces, in that they may have a deeply experiential quality for the artist or querent, as well as other viewer/explorers.

Over time and across repeated journeys along various paths, patterns begin to emerge for the artist using AI tools about the relationships between different locations and entities in the hypercanvas. Landmarks recur across expeditions, and an intuitive sense develops for how to traverse the space fruitfully, bringing back riches to share. While the entirety of latent space remains beyond any one explorer’s grasp, localized familiarity breeds creative revelation, which is multiplied through sharing with others.

As artists share manifestations from their hypercanvas expeditions, they provide guides and inspiration for others to embark on their own voyages into latent space, with each contribution opening new doors to what might be possible. What was once ineffable becomes, through visualization, shared experience. Shared experience leads to understanding and, with cultivation, the possibility for real change.

The hypercanvas object therefore is not just a solitary or finite product or set of products, but a continuous, ever-shifting constellation of entities and relationships. The hypercanvas concept recognizes the participatory and interactive nature of modern creativity, wherein the boundaries between author, viewer, tools and medium become porous. The latent spaces, once vague and unapproachable, are made tangible and explorable through the interface of AI/ML tools – but they remain in flux, shaped by human input, AI response, cultural context, and the ever-expanding landscape of digital technology.

In this landscape, especially when viewed through conventional lenses, copyright and ownership become complex questions. Traditional frameworks, such as that of the US Copyright Office, focus on tangible artifacts and clear demarcations of authorship. The hypercanvas as an art form, however, defies any such categorization. Is the “author” the sole creator or merely a guide through pre-existing, albeit hidden, dimensions? Are the snapshots from the Otherworld independent artworks, or are they part of a greater, inchoate whole? How does one protect the rights of an artist whose work is a process, a journey, an ongoing exploration that might be shared, replicated, or expanded upon by others?

These questions lead us inevitably to an essential rethinking of the nature of art and authorship in the age of AI. The hypercanvas demands a recognition of the dynamism, the complexity, and the collaborative spirit of contemporary creative processes. It requires new conceptual and new legal frameworks that encompass not only the material manifestations but the underlying processes, relationships, and even the transient states that constitute the artistic experience.

In embracing the concept of the hypercanvas, we as a society can begin to acknowledge that creativity is no longer bound by the physical and temporal limitations of traditional media. And we can make space for new things to be created.

Claude & ChatGPT helped write the second half of this (give or take), and then I helped them rewrite it to fit better with where I wanted to take it.