Andy Warhol: The Artist as Machine

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Andy Warhol the man is a difficult creature to grasp. His art, at least some parts of it, is familiar to us; so familiar, in fact, that it is becoming difficult not to think immediately of Warhol whenever we see a can of soup or an automobile accident. Yet in spite of this almost-overpowering presence or his work, Andy Warhol has managed to keep himself apart, a kind of enigma, a striking enigma, it is true, with his artificially grey hair, dark glasses and leather clothing, but an enigma nonetheless. His presence is as striking as one of his canvases, and just as devoid of a narrative sense. Warhol offers his image, his mask, for public consumption, but deprives the public of anything more. Asked about his background he once replied, “Why don't you make it up?” The remark is characteristic. It shows Warhol's unwillingness to expose himself beyond his public mask. The exact function of this image will be taken up later; but it should be mentioned now that Warhol apparently would prefer not to be thought of as a man, with a past, no matter how obscure, and a future, but as a unique entity, a thing of our day, who sprang into existence fully grown to do his work and who will someday vanish just as abruptly and mysteriously. That we know such is not the case doesn't matter. The presence of the desire, although it has remained largely unarticulated, is more important than the objective possibility. With regard to the public, Warhol does not want to exist outside of his image. For all intents and purposes, the image is Andy Warhol. This emphasis upon a stylized exterior and the lack of concern for anything other than the obvious is a major theme in Warhol's art, as well as in his deportment.

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... Finally, these models can generate multitudes of outputs, but the art is giving the right input to guide the desired output and selecting the results that best serve the concept As Andy Warhol had envisioned in 1963, eventually, art production will become mechanised and automated (Sichel 2018). In his own words: "I want to be a machine" (Bergin 1967), which was also a reflection on that time's vast industrialization process. Resonating with today's deep learning age: I want my machine to do art. ...
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The chapter analyses the use of Derridean trace in Igor Bauersima’s Factory. The action of this play develops inside a reality show in the style of Big Brother, where the contestants try to win the audience attention. Given extraordinary similarities between the development of events in Factory and in Hamlet, the action of Shakespeare’s tragedy runs as a trace throughout this version, creating the effects of doubling and distortion. At the same time, Bauersima’s method of adapting Shakespeare’s tragedy bears significant affinities to Andy Warhol’s view of art as a mechanical process of producing serial images. More specifically, in Bauersima’s dramatic treatment of Hamlet, we might find similarities with the technique of silkscreen printing, which depends on a close relationship between an original image and its copy. The chapter shows how Bauersima retains the plot of Shakespeare’s drama as a trace while shifting the focus from the dilemmas of revenge, politics, and history to the paradoxes of television culture and mediatized representations of reality. This shift occurs in the context of such contemporary phenomena as the rising power of media corporations and the growing obsession with celebrity.
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Resumen (es_ES) A pesar de los enormes avances que ha tenido la inteligencia artificial (IA) y la robótica, aún es polémico afirmar que una máquina pueda crear arte. Contrario a esta visión, propongo que tras la negación de las capacidades estéticas de las máquinas subyace un sesgo antropocéntrico. Para ilustrar lo anterior tomo ejemplos sobre el rol de las máquinas en la música y arte pop. He seleccionado estos géneros pues históricamente han incorporado de buena forma las novedades tecnológicas. En definitiva, este artículo toma a la música pop y el método de trabajo de Andy Warhol, para iluminar nuevos puntos de vista sobre las capacidades estéticas de máquinas y algoritmos. De este modo se fortalece la tesis de que las máquinas sí pueden crear arte. Resumen (en_US) Despite the enormous advances that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics have made, it is still controversial to claim that a machine can create art. Contrary to this view, I propose that behind the denial of the aesthetic capabilities of machines there is an anthropocentric bias. To illustrate this point, I take examples of the role that machines play in music and pop art. I have selected these genres because historically they have incorporated technological innovations without upheavals. Ultimately, this article takes pop music and Andy Warhol’s method of work to illuminate new points of view on the aesthetic capabilities of machines and algorithms. At the end, the thesis that machines can create art comes out strengthened.
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