Jake Elwes Part of my role as an artist is
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Jake Elwes: “Half of my role as an artist is demystifying AI applied sciences”

As The Zizi Present brings deep faux drag queens to the V&A, its creator talks to BJP about gender nonconformity, tech bias, and queer resistance

A drag queen and their deepfake doppelganger are presently lipsyncing to Beyoncé and Pink on the V&A. The truth is, the museum’s new Photography Centre options not only one, however ten drag queen deepfakes, every starring in artist and coder Jake Elwes’ set up The Zizi Present. These doppelgangers pulsate to vaguely recognisable beats in an in any other case darkish house, so brightly lit that their auras (and voices) spill into the neighbouring rooms. Elwes takes a kooky conceit – whether or not you’ll be able to prepare a neural community on a drag queen – and turns it into one thing participating and uncanny.

“Quite a bit of individuals who use AI do attempt to deliberately mystify it, making these grand claims across the company of the machine,” Elwes says. “Half of my role as an artist is additionally demystifying this know-how.”

Elwes finds a focus for one thing completely different as a substitute, exploring the potential to make use of AI and machine studying for aesthetic work. In Machine Studying Porn (2016) they used a neural community of pornographic photographs to reverse-engineer blurry photographs, for instance, gesturing in direction of the erotic regardless of containing nothing sexual.

Elwes initially began working with this know-how in 2017, after they have been graduating from UCL’s Slade Faculty of Artwork. Again then they have been extra within the metaphysical parts of this manner – in whether or not these instruments might prohibit the company of artists or their autonomy. However regularly Elwes “started to search out these questions fairly limiting,” they clarify. 

At across the identical time, a glut of analysis started to come back out investigating bias in AI. It revealed how all-too-human prejudices have been replicated by the applied sciences, exhibiting, for instance, how techniques educated predominantly on white faces have been unable to establish individuals of color. Concurrently, Elwes’ associate, an educational who additionally researches queer areas and efficiency, was operating a drag venue in North London. “I realised that drag could possibly be a extremely fascinating means of exploring these biases,” Elwes says. “It’s an final expression of gender nonconformity.”

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