From creating new artworks to expanding the work types of an artist, artificial intelligence can elevate 3D images of people or creatures that might not exist in the IRL world reaching a whole new dimension to the way art depicts humanity.
RED-EYE welcomes Glashier, a Berlin based photographer and videographer whose synthographic series Midnite on Mars take us on a cross planetary journey where extra-terrestrial beauty is the protagonist amongst breathtaking landscapes and the vibing rhythms of its eponymous playlist.
Hello Glashier! It’s a delight to welcome you for this interview. Would you like to introduce yourself and give us a first dip into your background as a photographer and now as a synthographer?
My background is as a photographer and music video director. I’ve been using Midjourney for a year. As a photographer for personal projects you are always limited by budget but working with Midjourney opened up a potential to create something I could not with my traditional mediums. Midnite on Mars was conceived to create a world that I could be a photographer in. I see it like street photography and to create a world is a really interesting prospect, and that’s my vibe really. I am a futurist like yourself!
For those who might not know, how would you define synthography from an artist perspective and how did Mindnite on Mars come about?
Synthography is the method of generating digital images synthetically using machine learning. In other words, it's the art of creating images from a dataset from text.
Midnite on Mars is a concept that came about organically through experimentation with AI models. I had been using previous models of Midjourney and they were great fun in abstract ways, but when they released v4, I noticed I could get quite close to photographs of humans, so I played around with creating the same sort of images I would create as a photographer by sticking to those rules to give me some grounding. But after an afternoon of playing it was just a duplication of what I had already done, so I started messing about with ideas of aliens and creating a world that as an artist in the real world I couldn't afford.
Everything came together pretty quickly and as I got lost in the AI, the more I experimented with the more this world started to come to life. I wanted to use one world to learn in and not have a new style every day by creating a coherent and consistent world with its own set of rules and aesthetics. I also wanted to explore the potential of AI in world building which is a growing trend in the technology industry, specifically in the fields of gaming, music, and social media.
Seeing the potential of AI in creating immersive and interactive worlds that can be used for a variety of purposes, Midnite on Mars is a representation of that idea; showcasing how AI can be used to create believable, detailed and intricate worlds that can be explored and experienced by the users.
There is a sort of nostalgic but exciting and futuristic feeling in each of your episodes. It kinda brings me back to the firsts Burning Man festivals with a selective taste for beauty and imaginary of new planetary realms. How do you prompt-ly choose your subjects and environments? Can you guide us through the process?
The aesthetic of the Midnite on Mars project is influenced by my background in organising festivals and creating music videos. I believe that there needs to be a sense of energy and movement in the project, and that certain vibes are timeless. The Burning Man elements in the project come from the setting being on Mars and I assume it would be sandy or dusty. Also there's a charm in the 1950's American aesthetic. Having travelled from Europe to Cuba and being drawn to vintage American cars that are this hangover from the past, these elements always were in the back of my mind and I liked the way they fitted, giving a sense of nostalgia and timelessness to the project and evokes that vibe.
I can tell there is a precise attention to lights, how did your previous experience as a photographer help you in the visualisation process?
As a photographer I was obsessed with natural light, I shoot on film so I don't have the flexibility of endlessly shooting on digital, it has to be at the perfect time to make it worthwhile shooting on film, therefore, I'm just trying to keep the consistency between the two mediums.
Music and image exquisitely co-exist in your work. What are some music artists and melodies that influenced your prompts?
As I started to work I would add music to the playlist to represent the images I was creating, and there was a certain vibe I was enjoying whilst I was working. Most of it was music I knew of at first, artists like Moloko, Air, Bjork and Angus and Julia Stone. It's grown into a ten hour playlist now!
Fashion is another key aesthetic in Midnite on Mars and I am in love! What are some fashion inspo that enlighten you and what is the population of Midnite wearing?
As part of the narrative is sort of about this first bunch of people that inhabit the town of Midnite were going to be influencers as if some sent them to promote it, so the fashion came from there, I didn't want to start saying what clothes I wanted as it become to constructed, so I kept it loose and about shape and colours, but kept the expensive clothes in that sort of background, and then the more relaxed to the influencers, while workers wear work clothes. There's a lot more to come.
What do you think about humans colonising Mars?
I just find it funny that these billionaires are pissing away money in that way. So it became a good background to the story that these billionaires from all over the galaxy had the same plan to colonise Mars and it was a great way to have different species living in one place they all call Home, and explore what socially will happen to Midnite as time goes on.
The world is going through massive changes when looking at the new intersections between humans and artificial intelligence. As a photographer now synthographer, Do you think AI can ever substitute an artist or can help artists to amplify their work and create new avenues of creativity?
It's definitely only a tool, what we are about to see is the rise of the imaginaires, this is what drives this work, everyone can have fun and make something, but this is actually giving a voice to those they don't practise an art medium and have something to say, its democratic and that's what makes it so exciting. I love seeing what is in these fantastic minds. I've seen and made a lot of things that are all quite similar after a while. This has no confines of anything practical, not compromised by money or justification, just pure imagination.
How do you envision the future of AI?
I think the future of AI it's the push towards singularity where the AI knows us inherently. It will advise us when needed, it could be healthy and could give us more time and space, it will entertain you. It will also make something for you, like the things that you need at that moment, such as the movie you want to watch tonight will be made for you only, and maybe only you will understand it.
What’s the future of Glashier and Midnite on Mars? Should we expect a total new series or we will be discovering more of MoM?
At the moment i'm pretty locked into this project, in the coming weeks it will expand to more narrative driven images and stories, some of the character will start telling us about their experiences of living in Midnite, and we will catch up our journalist that has been experiencing life on the red planet to report back to us with how the colonisation of mars is bringing a unique set of societal problems.
As an artist I want to explore other aspects of AI in the project, exhibition pieces are being worked on, and plans to bring some of this world off the screen and into the real world are on their way!