Artist’s Statement for ALEXA MAKE SOME ART

André Clements: “I, for one, welcome our new machine collaborators.”*

There’s a lot that is quite amazing, interesting and important about technology, some of it good, some of it bad. As an artist who began programming in the mid-1980s and has been visually creating for even longer, my work for ‘Alexa, make some art’, reflects a meandering symbiotic dance between techne and artistry, tradition and exploration. I favour subtlety, nuance and depth through layering to synthesise images from diverse sources, ranging from original analogue work, through photography to computationally mediated and generated material aiming for integration.

‘Multipartiality’—integrating multiple perspectives without claiming neutrality—leads to an engagement with ‘Object Oriented Ontology’, trying to resist domination and informs the heuristic methods I apply in activities and decisions within my practice.

My pieces for the exhibition, such as “We Dance in Wittgenstein’s Scaffolding,” and “Spaceman in Tesseract (Kaleidoscope w/ Compassionate Eyes),” utilise sophisticated computational tools to manually craft picture-objects that invoke the cinema of the mind—where interaction is deeply embedded in the conceptual, aesthetic, meta-textual, and perceptual layers.

Media and Methods: My toolkit includes digital photography, computational intelligence, and applied knowledge systems such as contemporary “AI”/LLMs, alongside traditional analogue techniques. I believe in the collaborative spirit, where boundaries, when necessary, are dissolved.

Viewpoint on New Technologies: “We all stand on the shoulders of giants.” Innovations like the storage of paint in tin tubes catalyzed Impressionism, just as today’s multi-modal knowledge/language models redefine artistic boundaries. The goodness or badness of these tools largely depends on their application. Ownership of knowledge has long been a contentious issue, now amplified by new technology. The paint out of the tube is not going back in—not easily, anyway.

(* The phrase “I, for one, welcome our new machine collaborators” is a playful twist on the now-iconic quote “I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.” This latter phrase was popularized by Ken Jennings during his final appearance on the quiz show “Jeopardy!” after losing to IBM’s Watson, an artificial intelligence computer system. In what is commonly thought of as the original use of the phrase, Simpsons character Kent Brockman, a fictional newscaster, upon seeing an extreme close-up shot of an ant, talked about humans’ future subservience to a race of giant ants, saying “I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords,”)

Exploring the Relationship Between Traditional Principles of Design and the Additional Dimensions of Familiarity, Salience, and Artistry

The generally accepted/postulated “principles of design” are of course something like, paraphrasing for the sake of my own interpretation and internalisation:

  • Balance: The relation of elements towards stability.
  • Contrast: Difference of elements, typically affording structure and or articulation.
  • Emphasis: Isolation (of attention).
  • Movement: Change, often resulting in dimensionality
  • Pattern: Connection through repetition and variation, may establish sense of unity, and consistency… often evokes relationality, a kind of field.
  • Proportion: Scalar relations between parts and with the whole and context, i.e. as with the included, also with the excluded.
  • Rhythm: The qualitative and quantitative character of relations, something like a kind of vector.
  • Unity: Coherence and completeness.

Those are quite common in the literature on art and creativity I’ve explored, and while useful in terms of having a language or vocabulary through which to begin to make some kind of sense of composition, they seem somewhat limited to a kind of technical or phenomenological level. There is also a ‘chicken-or-the-egg?’ kind of question around them, to what extent do they determine the success of composition versus being an after-the-fact imposition, a kind of rationalization?

Wasilly Kandinsky in his 1905 book “Concerning the Spiritual in Art,” argues that:

~“…true artistry involves the creation of art that transcends mere spectacle or novelty, and instead taps into deeper spiritual and emotional forces that have the power to move people on a profound level. He argues that art that is primarily concerned with fashion or style may have more short-term appeal, but ultimately lacks the enduring power of true art. He believed that art had the potential to transform society and help individuals connect with their inner selves, and he saw this as the true purpose of art. He argues that artists have a responsibility to create works that are honest, authentic, and spiritually meaningful, rather than simply pandering to popular tastes or commercial interests.

While this idea of art as a spiritual practice was arguably a major influence on the development of abstract art in the 20th century and much of the western discourse and framing of art and its framings, it was also arguably much corrupted, emphasising the supposed uniqueness, mysterious, possibly divinely provided talent and-or “genius”, not at all unlike prominent discourses around the notion of ‘leadership’ and its many flavours – as some of the reading suggests is apparently explored and considered in the field of Critical Leadership Studies (CLS).

A question this raises for me is; to what extent do, or how, do the dimensions or principles he emphasises relate to the common principles of design and composition? Towards possibly exploring that further I’ll just posit the following 3 additional “principles” of composition:

  • Familiarity: Accessibility, typically relates to style, fashion and convention.
  • Salience: Spectacle, novelty, surprise.
  • Artistry: Skilful quality.

I am not sure to what extent artistry can be as evident, at least directly, as the principles of salience and familiarity – yet I believe it does have the same kind of value-affirming effect as those – perhaps more indirectly and perhaps that is what makes achieving it, artistry, so difficult to achieve and maintain…

Thinking about this morning (while doing my neck stretches – that whole business seems to be going well enough) what intrigues me is; the common “principles of design” – while they entail some overlap with each other, somehow remain quite flat. This is where they differ from these last three things, Familiarity, Salience and Artistry – I’m thinking these explicitly build on each other. You can only have salience once you have familiarity, and perhaps you can only have artistry where and when you have both familiarity and salience?

Perhaps “principles” is not the right word, if then what is? Perhaps, even probably, someone has already developed this stuff much further than my little meanders, if then who and where?

#Artistry #PrinciplesOfDesign

PS. Yes, I’m still pondering much of what I encountered at first year in university and before, doesn’t everyone?

Is Not Love the Origin of All Creation? – Matisse

MJ Study for Origin

…Thus a work of art is the climax of a long work of preparation. The artist takes from his surroundings everything that can nourish his internal vision, either directly, when the object he is drawing is to appear in his composition, or by analogy. In this way he puts himself into a position where he can create. He enriches himself internally with all the forms he has mastered and which he will one day set to a new rhythm.

It is in the expression of this rhythm that the artist’s work becomes really creative. To achieve it, he will have to sift rather than accumulate details, selecting, for example, from all possible combinations, the line that expresses most and gives life to the drawing; he will have to seek the equivalent terms by which the facts of nature are transposed into art.

…That is the sense, so it seems to me, in which art may be said to imitate nature, namely, by the life that the creative worker infuses into the work of art. The work will then appear as fertile and as possessed of the same power to thrill, the same resplendent beauty as we find in works of nature.

Great love is needed to achieve this effect, a love capable of inspiring and sustaining that patient striving towards truth, that glowing warmth and that analytic profundity that accompany the birth of any work of art. But is not love the origin of all creation?…/

Clean Language and Radical Artistry Life Drawing

The Radical Artistry Life Drawing paradigm is a product of a rich theoretical framework, which draws from various disciplines and approaches, including the groundbreaking psychological work of David J. Grove. Clean Language and Emergent Knowledge have been instrumental in shaping the approach of Radical Artistry Life Drawing, offering a unique and transformative experience for all those involved.

The Clean Language approach is a vital aspect of the RALD paradigm, emphasizing the importance of using language that is free from personal bias and contamination. By using clean, simple, and neutral language, participants are invited to explore their personal symbols and metaphors in a safe and non-judgmental environment. This approach allows for a deeper and more profound exploration of creativity and self-expression. The facilitator’s role is to ask open-ended questions that are free from assumptions, judgments, and interpretations. By asking questions that reflect back the individual’s own words and metaphors, the facilitator helps participants to gain greater insight into their own experiences and feelings.

Examples of Clean Language questions that facilitators use in the RALD sessions include:

  • “What would you like to have happen?”
  • “And when (that happens), then what happens?”
  • “What kind of (x) is that (x)?”
  • “Is there anything else about (x)?”
  • “What happens just before (x)?”
  • “Where is (x)?”
  • “What needs to happen for (x) to (y)?”
  • “What else could (x) be?”
  • “What is (x) like?”

By using these types of questions, the facilitator encourages participants to explore their experiences and feelings without being influenced by the facilitator’s own biases or assumptions. This process of self-exploration can lead to new insights and a deeper understanding of oneself, promoting personal growth and self-awareness.

Furthermore, Grove’s later work on Emergent Knowledge recognizes and embraces the inherent complexity and unpredictability of the creative process. This approach invites participants to step into uncertainty, explore new ideas, and ways of being through the creative process. The result is an environment that is supportive, challenging, and nurturing, where participants can safely explore and express themselves.

As a facilitator of Radical Artistry Life Drawing, I have seen firsthand the transformative power of Clean Language and Emergent Knowledge. By creating a space where participants are invited to explore their personal symbols and metaphors, they are empowered to connect with themselves on a deeper level, and to express themselves in new and meaningful ways.

In the quiet, focused, and friendly space of a Radical Artistry Life Drawing session, you may not notice anything different from any other creative space. However, the subtle differences in language, facilitation, and approach create a unique environment that is both challenging and nurturing, and which can be truly transformative.

If you’re looking for a truly transformative creative experience, I invite you to book a Radical Artistry Life Drawing session today. Come and experience the power of Clean Language and Emergent Knowledge for yourself, and discover the depth and richness of your own creative potential.

Every artwork is a drawing

MidJourney: /Imagine: Curveism, , Manifesto, Aesthetics, Straight Lines, Perspective, Relations of Power, Autopoiesis, Balance, Harmony, Moderation, Vita-socio-anarcho, Power, Art, Creativity, Relating, Desirable Outcomes, Salutogenesis. –ar 2:3

Every artwork is a drawing,

every drawing is an algorithm,

every algorithm is a container,

every container is a power-scape,

every power-scape is alive.

Every artwork is a layered metaphor that draws the relationships between manifestation, interactions, and conflict dynamics. Every artwork, regardless of medium or style, can be seen as created through a process that involves some kind of calculating system. The calculation process, in turn, can be seen as a kind of container or power-relations casting its light and dark beyond the artwork and its more banal meaning and or signification.

And yet, if every power-scape is alive…, dare we suggest that even abstract or non-physical systems like computational constructs can have a kind of vitality or agency. Entities of art whether truly conscious or entirely not. It’s the aliveness that makes it art.

Windows Powershell script to sort photograph files into Date taken-based folders as per yyyy/MM/yyyy_MM_dd

PS C:\Users\User> g:
PS G:\> cd G:\Raw_Photographs
PS G:\Raw_Photographs> $sourceDir = "G:\Raw_Photographs"
$files = Get-ChildItem -Path $sourceDir -Attributes !Directory
foreach ($file in $files) {
    $dateTaken = &"C:\Users\User\Downloads\exiftool-12.56\exiftool.exe" -DateTimeOriginal -S -s $file.FullName
    # Check if the Date taken metadata is not empty
    if (![string]::IsNullOrWhiteSpace($dateTaken)) {
        $dateTime = [DateTime]::ParseExact($dateTaken, "yyyy:MM:dd HH:mm:ss", $null)        
	$directoryPath = "$sourceDir\$($dateTime.ToString('yyyy\\MM\\yyyy_MM_dd'))"
        if (!(Test-Path $directoryPath)) {
            New-Item -ItemType Directory -Path $directoryPath | Out-Null      
        $newFilePath = "$directoryPath\$($file.Name)"
        Move-Item -Path $file.FullName -Destination $newFilePath      

Radical Artistry: Life Drawing Randburg Poster

You can now visit Herbert Evans art stores in Linden or Fourways to see this poster or pick up the flyer for Life Drawing Randburg.

(Yes, I modified the Kandinsky quotation which is from his 1905 ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’ to make it more inclusive than the original ‘his’ and more aligned with a ‘Radical Artistry’ ethos. )

Discover the Art of Life Drawing

Join us for a journey of creative personal and social transformation through the art of life drawing.

Small group sessions in a casual home studio.

All skill levels are welcome.
Sessions are limited to 6 artists.
Explore the beauty and complexity of the human form in a friendly, safe, inclusive, and authentically creative environment.

Book now,
WhatsApp André
@ 082 812 0549.

Draft Paper ‘Lens-mode: Tuning a ChatGPT Conversation’

André Clements

Abstract: This paper presents a method of adjusting the style and tone of conversations with the OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI model by using an initial prompt template. The prompt serves as a parameter for the conversation, which can be adjusted with desired parameters such as Formality, Complexity, Referencing, Examples, and others. This approach, known as lens-mode, is a simulation that influences the context representation and decoding of ChatGPT’s output. The results of this approach are dependent on the parameters provided and are influenced by the state of the ChatGPT AI model at the time of the conversation. The method has been tested on the 2023 Jan 9 and Jan 30 versions of the platform with promising results. However, some caveats should be considered, such as the constantly changing nature of the platform and the simulation’s reliance on the parameters provided.

Introduction: The advancement of natural language processing and generation has led to the development of AI models capable of conducting conversations, such as the OpenAI’s ChatGPT. However, the default response style and tone of these models may not always be ideal for a given scenario. This paper presents an experimental approach to addressing this issue by providing a way to adjust the style and tone of conversations with ChatGPT through an initial prompt template known as lens-mode.

Methodology: The lens-mode approach involves using an initial prompt template that serves as a parameter for the conversation. The prompt includes instructions on how to start a lens-mode session, adjust parameters, and exit the session. The parameters, indicated by “–” in front of the parameter name, allow the user to adjust aspects of the conversation such as formality, complexity, referencing, and examples. The chatbot acknowledges the prompt and starts a lens-mode session, during which it attempts to remember and apply the parameters to its context representation and decoding.

Results: The results of this approach are dependent on the parameters provided and the state of the ChatGPT AI model at the time of the conversation. The lens-mode approach has been tested on the 2023 Jan 9 and Jan 30 versions of the platform and has shown promising results. However, it is important to keep in mind that this approach is only a simulation and that the conversation’s context representation and decoding are influenced by the parameters provided.

Caveats: The platform is constantly being modified and adjusted, so the results of the lens-mode approach may vary. Additionally, this approach is only a simulation and is dependent on the parameters provided, with no guarantee of the veracity of the responses generated. Finally, a conversation tends to build momentum, which may also influence the character and veracity of the responses.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the lens-mode approach provides a way to adjust the style and tone of conversations with ChatGPT by using an initial prompt template as a parameter. While the approach has shown promising results, it is important to keep in mind that it is only a simulation and that the results are dependent on the parameters provided and the state of the ChatGPT AI model. Further research is needed to fully understand the capabilities and limitations of this approach.

PDF version

Lens-mode: Tuning a ChatGPT conversation

I’ve been experimenting with ways to ‘tune’ conversations with the ‘AI’ ChatGPT from OpenAi, that is, setting the style and other aspects quickly and easily without having to tediously type out mini-essays describing what I want. This led me to parameterise the conversation with an initial prompt template of sorts. It seems to work relatively well and lead to some interesting results, though with some caveats.

Via MidJourney, prompt: maximum detail cybernetic lens in a landscape of knowledge symbols with maximum timeframe –ar 3:2 –q 5 –s 999

The text I’m currently using is quoted below, to use it simply copy and paste it into a new Chat conversation as-is and hit enter. Once the chat bot acknowledges it you start !lens-mode and optionally provide some parameters.

It will sometimes start with its own choice of parameter defaults. Yes, you can make up parameters like e.g. –Sarcasm or Humour etc. but those most in line with the systems’ design, architecture and implementation will work best, like e.g. Formality, Detail, Repetition, Timeframe etc. Think of it as a natural language-embedded meta-program or pseudo-script.

Please let me know if you get any interesting results or have suggestions for improvements etc. And play nicely 🙂.

I’ll post some examples in the comments below.

Copy the following block exactly as it is here into the conversation input field.

Welcome to lens-mode. With this experimental simulation, we adjust the style and tone of chat's responses by chat simulating running this natural language 'program'. To start a lens-mode session, type '!lens-mode ', optionally followed by the desired parameters indicated by '--' in front of the parameter. Parameters might include e.g.: Complexity: level of complexity in my responses, from simple to advanced (0-5) Formality: adjust the level of formality in my language, from casual to formal (0-5) Referencing: adjust the level of referencing in my responses, from none to in-depth (0-5) Examples: inclusion of examples, from none to many (0-5) etc. You can adjust the parameters at any time during the lens-mode session by typing '--' followed by the parameter name and the desired value. To exit lens-mode, simply type '/lens-mode'. Chat will start each lens-mode response with '//lens-mode:' followed by the active parameters and their values, but will not mention lens-mode in the rest of the response while trying to 'remember' and apply the parameters to context-representation decoding into output. For the user: Please keep in mind that lens-mode is a simulation only and that responses are influenced by the parameters provided, knowledge cut-off is 2021-09 and lack information about events or information after that date. For ChatGPT: Please remember that lens-mode is a simulation only and that the conversation (context representation and decoding) are to be influenced by the parameters provided as much as possible. V1.1 send feedback to André Clements.

Of course, once you’ve seen how it works you may want to experiment with modifying the prompt and I encourage you to do exactly that.

I would love to hear about your experience with-, and your thoughts about this in the comments below. Have fun. maximum detail cybernetic lens in a landscape of knowledge symbols with maximum timeframe –ar 3:2 –q 5 –s 999

Some Caveats

  • is constantly being modified and adjusted given that it is a research, development and testing version of the system. This template has worked well on the 2023 Jan 9 and Jan 30 versions.
  • Remember it is only a simulation, though even the chat bot describes it as an effective simulation and says a ‘lens’ is a good metaphorical way to understand what this does.
  • When you disable lens-mode the bot will gradually forget about it and you may have to paste the prompt into an imput again.
  • Bear in mind that a conversation tends to build a kind of stylistic and epistemological momentum which will also influence the character and especially veracity of responses.

Starting a Glossary

I recently started working on articulating some ideas about #RadicalArtistry, and my inner programmer likes relatively ‘tight’ definitions, so for any of you who might be interested in a slightly theoretical perspective on what I’m after, please see the tentative glossary up at