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Manipulated AI / Machine Learning generated images. 2022

What does an AI think of democracy? What will AI learn from how we are behaving?

These Flag works start as AI/GAN generated images. The machine is trained on a set of all possible flag permutations. There are 70! images in this training data set. (70!, or “seventy factorial,” is 1.197857e+100, or, fully written out: 11, 978, 571, 669, 969, 891, 796, 072, 783, 721, 689, 098, 736, 458, 938, 142, 546, 425, 857, 555, 362, 864, 628, 009, 582, 789, 845, 319, 680, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000.) The number of options reflects the chaos of voices in todays media and social-media echo chambers, and their power to amplify false truths.

With so many alternatives it becomes impossible for the machine, with its imperfect logic, to learn what the flag represents. Its difficulty to imagine a unified nation is reflected in the chaos of the images it creates.

I further manipulate each generated image with my custom code, to bring forward patterns and dynamics in the image that, while perhaps obvious to the machine, are not immediately apparent to our human eyes and perception.

As this country divides into warring camps, unable to agree on basic human rights or civil liberties, what remains are just shreds of a great ideal – unrealized and in tatters. And so, for each of these proto-states, a new Flag, a fragment of the original. Some full of fury and anger - of belief in lies and delusional memories of the country’s past. And some trying to hold the beauty and generosity of liberty and equality.