is a Mexican artist who intervened in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was in the Wasserschloss, an iconic monument located in Hamburg, where Esparza put sirens, boats and even floating dolphins. But do not spread panic! In reality, he did all of this without even physically touching him; his intervention was made with Virtual Reality.
The artist participated in the Portal to the Future initiative, announced by Honor at IFA 2022, which is designed to enrich cultural history through the power of technology. In her work, she tells the mercantile naval history of Hamburg and narrates the evolution from the wooden ship to today’s ships.
Esparza isn’t the only one captivating audiences with her new art. More and more artists, designers, architects or anyone who wants to take their art to another dimension – literally – are implementing technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).
And it is that, it will be more and more common to see images created by programs such as Midjourney, Dall-E or Stable Difussion; you begin to question if you could; if we will listen to more music made by non-musicians, with programs; or if part of what a media outlet will publish will not be replaced by automatically generated texts.
The truth is that these tools are not going away any time soon, and they allow numerous possibilities that would otherwise not be possible without the technology.
The eternal debate between art and technology
A few weeks ago, Jason Allen, a video game designer from Colorado, won a state art contest for his piece “ Théâtre D’opéra Spatial ”. However, this did not please the art community for one detail: the piece was generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Midjourney , a sophisticated program that translates text into images.
This generated controversy among the artistic community. RJ Palmer, a concept artist, tweeted: “What makes this AI different is that it is explicitly trained on currently working artists. You can see below that the AI-generated image (left) even tried to recreate the artist logo it stole. This thing wants our jobs, it’s actively anti-artist.”
A new AI image generator appears to be capable of making art that looks 100% human made. As an artist I am extremely concerned.
— RJ Palmer (@arvalis)
Allen shared. But his defense was that the request he made to the machine had to be very refined. According to him, he created hundreds of images and, after weeks of fine-tuning and curating his texts, he chose his top three and printed them.
The truth is that, although these tools do allow non-illustrators to draw, what is still necessary is to have something to tell – and it is not as simple as it seems.
Yunuen shared: “I like to consider myself more of a storyteller, where I start to tell a story on the physical canvas and end up transferring it to digital art (…) To carry out the entire digital part, I make a storyboard , a storyline , I see what images am I going to use, what audios and what music am I going to use and above all the timing”.
On the other hand, Yunuen shares that to make his art one thing is still necessary that is not possible with the digital tool: choosing a theme. “They are usually very varied but, above all, they are about my personal experiences as a woman, mother and citizen of Mexico City.”
A few decades ago, a similar debate arose with photography. Pierre Bordieu, in his text Photography: an intermediate art , wrote: “(photography) appears as a privileged means of apprehending in its most authentic expression, the aesthetics (and ethics) proper to the different groups or classes and, particularly , the popular “aesthetics” that can, exceptionally, be revealed in it”.
What is certain is that the art that is done with VR, AR and AI can only be done if you have the necessary means to do it. For example, a device with the technical capabilities to support applications and graphics, up to 5G technology.
“Renew or die”, concludes Esparza. “There will always be room for traditional art. But if you want to stay present, you have to educate yourself and evolve as the culture itself evolves. And although we are afraid to learn what is new, I think it is worth making an effort (…) it is to be educated in terms of new technologies”.