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Machine's intervention in image aesthetics


As a computational art student who comes from photography background, I want to talk a little bit about images and aesthetics with machine implantions.


While Benjamin mentioned, “Mechanical reproduction of art changes the reaction of the masses toward art”,  Kember and Joanna Zylinska also point out, “If we do accept that we have always been cyborgs….Seeing ourselves as always already connected, as being part of the system—rather than as masters of the universe to which all beings are inferior”.


It made me realise that the line between human and non-human was becoming increasingly blurred. Now humans are all cyborgs, and our aesthetics have been imperceptibly transformed in the process of machine implantation. Computer technology makes it possible to reproduce and homogenize images. If Photographers are Cyborgs, is the person who is viewing the images also cyborg? Aesthetic cyberization is the trend of human society at present. On Instagram, there are accounts dedicated to finding images that have been over-photoshopped beyond the limits of human physiology, but aside from those that are clearly identifiable as "fictional," are the vast majority of seemingly real images real? Will bloggers in today's social medias post photos that are not photoshopped at all?


“The images we see can only be “beautiful” or “real-looking” because they have been heavily processed, either by neural machinery or by code.”Modern people, immersed in the tsunami of images for a long time, seem to have merged with Processing. Except for extreme fake, we enjoy and immerse ourselves in the remaining "moderately fake” image aesthetics.


I am particularly interested in the anomaly section of Trevor Paglen's exhibition from Apple to Anomaly.
Aside from a few rational sets of images, the difference between machine recognition and the common human understanding of an object has a lot in similar to the glitches by machine-generated images. Many photos of Asian lawyers, for example, are labeled "divorce lawyers"; Meanwhile, the image of anger on a western face is considered "racist"... However, is this "image aesthetic" an extension of human aesthetic imagination? Will abnormality, this machine-output trait, become a new trend like other aesthetic implants that humans have embraced?




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