Wandering Dazed Through Everything

First of all, I’m sick. Three COVID tests over three days are all negative, so probably not COVID, but still. I’d rather not be sick. It started over the weekendish, and is gradually getting better.

Other than being sick, and therefore sleeping a lot, I’ve been doing not much more than generating more and more and more and more images on ol’ NightCafe. They have cleverly rate-limited the three-credit bonus for twittering (or, as it turns out, Instagramming) creations to one per hour, so I no longer have an infinite number of credits, but they are well worth a dime or two each.

Oh, I also reviewed another book. It was… well, you can read the review. :)

Otherwise I have been generating lots and lots and lots and lots more images, and wondering at them. I feel like I want a huge coffee-table book of them to page through, or a vast gallery of them arranged by a thoughtful curator. And on the other hand I also feel that I’m plateauing slightly in my fascination, in a way, and that they haven’t been … surprising me as much lately. We’ll see how that goes!

There are lots of gorgeous complex maximalist images from it in the Twitter (and my own Yeni Cavan is quite maximalist for all of that), but what I’ve been most struck by lately are the small and simpler things, in the spirit of Pencil on White the other day. So here are some of them, pretty much randomly. Some of them result from prompts that are only about style, not content, so the AI is free to use whatever content it thinks is likely. Some are from vaguely suggestive prompts, some abstract, some in French. :) I’ll see if I can get WordPress to lay them out more interestingly than one per row…

I observe that (1) this WordPress “gallery” control is kind of awkward and non-optimal, and (2) this particular “Illustration, pencil on paper” prompt tends to produce odd African faces sometimes; I wonder what that tells us about the AI and the training set.

Part of the reason, I think, that I want to wander among these gazing for many hours, is the feeling that there must be a whole story, probably an interesting one, or several interesting ones, behind each of the images. If that turns out not to be true, or one comes not to believe that it’s true, it might significantly reduce the fascination. Or can one just gaze and make up one’s own back stories for each and every image?

Those four are “Monochrome print of…” but you’ll have to click through to see the individual titles; the captions on the WordPress gallery control were overlaying too much of the images.

See that rather creepy result from “Colored pencil on paper” up there? Well, that’s the least creepy result I’ve gotten from that prompt all by itself. I don’t know what that means at all. Is there a whole bunch of creepy colored pencil on paper body-horror stuff in the training set? Or is it some strange local maximum that happened to form in the neural net? Mysteries!

The captions interfere with the images there a bit, at least in this view, but YOLO, eh? I feel really torn by these pictures, between being fascinated by the thought of the artist looking out over the valley from their shack on a cloudy afternoon, and then feeling betrayed because there was no artist, and then feeling that they come from an amalgamation of all the artists who created the AI’s training set in all their separate times and places, and finally that they are as fascinating as the accidental (or not!) patterns in the water threading between the rocks and barnacles as the tide comes and goes.

To finish up for tonight, we just show off that it knows some French, as generative AIs trained on as much as possible of what was lying around tend to be casually multi-lingual by accident.

(I don’t know why it’s made that last image so gigantic; apologies if it does that for you also and is disturbing.)

For some other time, I’ve also generated some sets like images from Leonard Cohen lyrics (there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in), from the World Tree (all sepia), book covers (did I already post some of those?), the wonders of Xyrlmn, cute Xenobots, and some other things. I feel like I should post all of them! And also that they can as easily be allowed to slip away relatively unrecorded.

In the meantime, we wander between the pictures, turn the pages, stroll the galleries, and let the patterns touch our minds.


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