Meet the man behind the AI ​​artist, Botto

“Botto has become this hybrid being that is half artificial intelligence and half collective intelligence, which is also a bit like a virtual being,” says Mario Klingemann of his artificial intelligence art generation project.

The German artist is very ambitious when it comes to his artificial intelligence artist collaborator.

It is not the only one. AI art is everywhere these days.

The likes of DALL-E 2, WOMBO Dream, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion have provided people at home with access to AI generators to create fun Internet content like Kermit the Frog like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”.

The popular site ‘This person does not exist‘provides endless different credibly human faces of imaginary people.

But as AI-generated art proliferates, the questions surrounding it grow too.

In August, a painting generated by Midjourney won first prize in the digital art category at the Colorado State Fair. This month, the Dune subreddit banned AI-generated art as “low effort content.”

Now, Botto’s works will be exhibited at Downstairs at the Department Store in Brixton from 26 to 30 October.

Meet Botto, AI artist

For Banga project born in 2021, Klingemann wanted not only to create art, but also to decentralize it.

Each week, Botto designed 350 new paintings through his suite of open source algorithms that can then bring together image elements from an almost infinite online bank. These paintings are the result of Klingemann putting various suggestions in Botto.

Botto’s Depression Journey – Botto / Mario Klingemann

It is in Klingemann’s suggestions that his hand as an artist is most present. But he doesn’t want it to be. Instead, Klingemann fed Botto neutral terms to kickstart the generation process; then he stepped back to allow a community to interact with AI.

That’s why Klingemann’s Botto project isn’t just about generation. With 350 paintings each week, a community votes online for their favorite.

The NFT of the winner is then auctioned.

The first three pieces of the series went for a total of $ 900,000 (approximately € 903,000). From the first 22 works of art, Botto has generated over 2 million dollars (about 2 million euros).

“Botto gets a dictionary of all the words in the English language,” explains Klingemann. “First he will use them randomly, but then, as the votes come in, some words that have created more interesting images that the community like will have a greater chance of being chosen.”

“So in the end, there will be almost a ranking of words that have worked well in the past, that have a better chance of being used again, and others that have not been successful will not be used as often,” Klingemann says.

Botto / Mario Klingemann

Counteracting Botto’s test – Botto / Mario Klingemann

There is clearly huge money at stake with Botto and the artwork he created. On a purely financial level, it makes sense that Klingemann incorporated the auction and community aspect into the process itself.

“Botto has to pay his own living expenses,” Klingemann openly admits. He notes the costs of the server and the great team that helps him manage and develop the system.

But in addition to the simple management of the ship, the votes are part of his artistic philosophy with Botto.

“My general idea is that Botto becomes an entity in its own right,” says Klingemann.

In the current state of AI art, it will always be influenced by the inputs given to it. Klingemann might give his niche take on inputs, but that would make him too much of an extension of himself.

“I’m more interested in the dynamics of what makes an artist,” he says. “It’s not just about making images, it’s also about how people talk about them and where they are shown,” she says. “So actually the whole composition of the system is almost more important than what it creates in my eyes.”

The artistic value of AI art

What Botto is creating are various works that borrow from the artistic canon, ranging from Renaissance to contemporary, all with a recognizable fingerprint of the AI ​​generation.

Faces become unrecognizable, objects are never defined and the background fades into the foreground. The touches of a non-human entity are always clearly marked.

What then are the artistic qualities of these works? In many ways, Botto’s creations are a more direct interaction with the art market.

Botto / Mario Klingemann

Botto’s misleading contagion – Botto / Mario Klingemann

Before, a financially successful artist may have bowed to the interests of the art market, but always hoped to simply stay afloat with fickle changes. Botto can instead adapt to a much broader set of variables, producing more works in a week than any human being could hope to do.

Is this the work of an AI artist, as the works have an artistic value beyond their literal value? This is less clear.

Klingemann is comfortable admitting that he doesn’t always like jobs, and also that there is an advantage in leaning on the interests of the market.

“Usually, the more nervous you are, the less fans you have,” Klingemann says.

“You may have more respect among your peers, but at the same time, your collector base will also be limited to people with very special and particular tastes.”

Botto / Mario Klingemann

Asymmetrical release of Botto – Botto / Mario Klingemann

Where is the value in art for art?

Klingemann argues that there is still an aesthetic value in what Botto is creating.

Although much of the canon of contemporary artists’ works takes into account their intentions behind the work, this is not possible with a non-sentient creator. Instead, the value comes from elsewhere.

“Maybe the intention is only part of a story. I am very involved in the story the artist and the audience tell themselves about the artist. So it’s an emerging story, ”Klingemann explains.

That story is then presented to the public. Klingemann is primarily interested in how the audience reacts and creates that story from Botto’s work. This is not a profit-oriented venture for him, as he is fascinated by the question of Botto’s artistic worth.

“It comes down to our love of stories. And so, if I look at Botto’s art, I see it. We have an interesting story that emerged there that seems to be interesting to people.

Botto: a Whole Year of Co-Creation “runs from 26 to 30 October at Downstairs at the Department Store, Brixton.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *