Portrait of Clarity, 2020

Aesthetic Absurdity, 2020

Tristan Onek

Tristan Onek is a computer science researcher, web developer, and artist. His research has recently focused on using AI to turn written media (poetry, musical lyrics, art critiques, and more) into visual art. During this research, while engaging with the art scene in Los Angeles during a brief stay with USC, he created the AI Aesthete system. This system is capable of analyzing a wide range of text-based media and creating visual artwork by merging images scraped from the Internet that best represent the content of those media. This enables Onek to creatively visualize discussions about art and other topics by generating new art about those discussions. Aside from his artistic endeavors, he also does research work and web development for ETSU in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Portrait of Clarity was made by taking descriptions of Jackson Pollock’s One: Number 31, 1950 written for visually impaired visitors at the MoMA and then providing those descriptions to my AI Aesthete system. This particular AI-generated production demonstrates a clear inner area surrounded by an unclear exterior. This contrast between clarity and confusion, along with a central portrait of a man, serves as an apt reference to MoMA’s efforts to make art more accessible to those who are surrounded by inaccessibility.”

Aesthetic Absurdity was produced by feeding into AI Aesthete the first chapter of Theodor Adorno’s book Aesthetic Theory, in which he claims that art’s role in society is no longer self-evident. This piece represents challenging and complex efforts necessary to make sense of the relations between art and society. Adorno spent much of his career studying art, and this production turns Adorno’s words back into art.”