Deus Ex Machina
Experimentation on the new frontier; my first and only time dabbling with AI. The pieces in this series of self portraits were originally photographed by me, then interpreted by the mysterious machinations of Artificial Intelligence then reclaimed by me again and layered with many additional layers of information and meaning.
A rookie to the AI world, all I did was upload a few rare selfies to MyHeritage.com, a family tree genealogy website, then when AI had had its way with them and clad me in gowns and crowns to reflect my ancient ancestors, I re-interpreted them again with many added layers of my own photography, ancestral documents and collected ephemera to create new self portrait works that defy AI's calculating judgment of what I actually look like and who I truly am.
In retrospect, this experiment in reclaiming AI's appropriation of my own images was mind-opening and process-expanding. The practice of historical research, gathering the reference materials and collecting relevant ephemera to add to each piece forced me to consider my ancestors as real women like me, and how their lives were shaped by the historical context and cultures in which they lived.
Who knew that an unexpected project with an un-human collaborator would result in bringing me closer to my own humanity? I am not a queen and I am not a hero, yet here I am- a woman doing the work in the now of her time. At the end of the day, this experimental project did turn me inward, more firmly connected me to my ancestors and to myself, and ushered me back to the path of my calling. I have re-integrated what had been lost to time; adding back all the lives of all the grandmothers, remembering them while re-membering myself and what I have to bring to the world in my time. Created during #WomensHistoryMonth in March of 2023, this project brought me closer to all the women I have been and all the women I am, with an assist from something I will never be.
Please read my essay on the subject of AI in art