Generating uniqueness

How generative art pushes the boundaries of intellectual property

Mihail Luchian

Playlists: 'froscon2019' videos starting here / audio / related events

The recent advancements in Machine Learning and Blockchain technology, have led to a renewed interest in Generative Art. The way in which these fields work and rely on randomness, has inspired artists and coders to explore what it means for a piece of content to be unique and be posessed by someone. We believe the best way to illustrate such problems is by actually showing how one goes from an initial random number to an actual image and this is exactly what we will doing in the talk!

The talk will start with an overall presentation of Generative Art and describe the recent influence that Machine Learning and Blockchain have had on this art form. Ample examples and references will, of course, be present. What emerged from these recent influences is a new and different way of thinking about digital content, where ownership is expressed through smart contracts on the blockchain or by secret knowledge of the initial seed used to generate the image. Throw in Open Source in the mix and it might just be impossible to make any more sense of intelectual property. As the presented material can be hard to grasp without an actual example, in the second part we will illustrate a typical workflow with which generative art is created. In the process, the audience will have the opportunity to explore different generation and structuring techniques, fundamental building blocks of the art form, like pseudorandom number generator, seeds, simple probability distributions, and the issues one often has to deal with.