The modes and technology used for storytelling and myth-making is a cornerstone of the research that makes it way into my studio and this body of work comes from a storytelling collaboration with a text to image AI engine. My interest in the disruption of technology on contemporary life from a feminist perspective is at the crux of these ink drawings, paintings, CGI renderings, and animations.
In these ink and gouache works on paper the seemingly bright and cheerful colours are a mask to deeper anxieties about women in contemporary culture, the disruption of digital technology, and age old storytelling archetypes. I generate the source material for these artworks through an ongoing collaboration with an AI platform. I enter language prompts into the algorithm and in return the platform generates an image for me. This process allows me to articulate my top-of-mind themes through text and discover in return the repeating patterns and motifs of my most prevalent thoughts in visual form. The AI, an alien and non-human entity, serves as a mirror to my intentions and reflects back to me the patterns of my humanness and my attempts to connect to the legacy of my human forebears. In some manner, I am also attempting to reconcile the disruption that technology is inflicting on contemporary life at this particular point in history. I am further attempting to find a way forward to engage fruitfully with this foreboding, avant garde technology which threatens to replace the necessity of human involvement in creative production.
At a macro level, my work deals with themes of personal agency, gender, feminism and the relationship of womyn to technology. Histories of storytelling and the oral tradition through myth and allegory are important to me as a way to reflect on the lessons of the past while responding to the current climate of political unrest and polarised communities. I’m worried in particular about the learning lost through the perpetuation of revisionist historical narratives and the use of technological platforms to consolidate extreme positions and perpetuate fake news.
Like a comparative anthropologist I seek common ground and similarities between stories and cultures as a way of parsing some version of the truth, which is itself a contentious aim. This could be encapsulated by the adage that there is nothing new under the sun. In particular, I’m driven to connect the ancient past to postulative, and science fiction-based futures and forms of storytelling that allow artistic licence to express topics that may be otherwise repressed as controversial or subversive. I’m also focused on the role of women in this kind of storytelling which has resulted in this new body of work that owes a debt to the original and more violent versions of European fairy tales and folklore.
#disneynightmare is a repeating prompt used to generate these images.