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Hassan Ragab: artificial intelligence produces art.

What I want to speak to you about today is new on many levels: it was new to me, but it is also new in the world of art and architecture.

The artist I want to show you is Hassan Ragab, an Egyptian living in California who specializes in conceptual art, design, architecture, and...artificial intelligence. That's right because his works are not really created by him, with classical tools such as brushes or colours, or even with photographs or digital image editing programs. His works are created by giving written commands to artificial intelligence.

The program, or "the intelligence" used is Midjourney, an open AI software for creating images from written input, or textual command lines.

We have already covered different aspects of digital art in our articles about Cupydo and crypto-art, but here we are faced with something that can also question the merits, the ability and even the authorship of the work itself. How does Hassan create his works?

By entering text commands within the software, and then evaluating the first four submissions that the AI displays. And then proceeding to correct, add, and fix. All though, always using command lines. His works need hundreds of "versions" before they reach the satisfactory one.

The series that caught my attention was "city is a tram," where city glimpses are presented as versions of huge streetcars, looking tired, exhausted, piled on top of each other, to create an impression of a futuristic, decaying city, as we often see in various works of science fiction. This is, probably, why I love them.

So, you may ask, where does the artist's skill lie? It lies, for example, in control. The control of the variables fed into the system, the control of the direction the AI is taking as it executes the inputs. Hassan himself states that control is paramount, but at the same time, it is the lack of absolute control, is the beauty of this system because you can always be amazed by the realizations that emerge.

“You have only a certain amount of control. But again, that’s the beauty of using them! You don’t want to use them to create a certain thing, you don’t want them to create something that’s in your head, you want them to push your idea, to have another perspective, another outcome."

To this I would like to add what I think is the main merit: creating something beautiful, exciting, interesting. To create, in a word, art. Therein lies the skill, the being an artist, in using a medium, whatever it may be, to give others an aesthetic that astonishes, fascinates, causes discussion, inspires.

Hassan believes that these mediums will become increasingly advanced and fundamental, especially in architecture, when they will be integrated into three-dimensional structure generation systems.

There are many of his architectural experiments with building facades that are inspired by natural elements, impossible shapes, or, like the ones I most appreciated, building-smoke interaction:

As Hassan himself says, these mediums can give anyone the ability to create a certain kind of art, and can be seen as a threat to artistic ability. But it is the spirit of the artist, the true artist, that emerges, and is able to channel this technology into a true work of art.

So now, if you are not good with pencils and brushes, you may discover a new way to express your artistic spirit, you just need to write some commands...

Images from Instagram profile of Hassan Ragab

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