Death Work (2023)


Digital print on rice paper + NFT
35.4 x 59.1 in
Edition of 5 + 2 AP

Made in collaboration with Dall-e

Death 1 and Death 2 were originally commissioned by curator Linda Weintraub for Beyond Death, a special issue in the journal Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts

Death 1 (The Companions)

Death 2 (Staring at the Sky)

Death 1 and Death 2 were originally instigated by curator Linda Weintraub, designed as a contribution to a scholarly arts journal on the topic of one’s own death. At first, I imagined producing a one-liner about “the death of the author” that AI threatens to bring upon us all. This turned rather quickly into a sustaining improvisational effort to collaborate with machines—to make unimaginable associations between visual histories, visualizations of morbidity, open skies, and multiple horizons.

At its best (and the not-irrelevant copyright infringement issues aside), AI is one of many algorithmic tactics to collaborate with machines, and be surprised by them. At present, text-to-image generation tools are nicely constrained to text prompts, compositing images as add-on squares to be filled in with text-to-image prompts, and manual erasing of image sections (both part of the outpainting technique that Dall-e offers to composite larger or more complex images). The outputs are prone to error and glitch. Dall-e’s rich database of historical East Asian imagery flows with my own authored output: having worked for Japanese television from 1989 – 1994, Ukiyo-e and scroll painting have been a deep influence on me for 3 decades.

These images, the first in a series, address this concept:

Upon death, my energy as a creator will— as all creators will— merge into the slipstream of dreams and hallucinations, mingling and in conversation with my kin, ancestors, and descendants—repositories or databases of sorts, I suppose— including humans, birds, trees, plastics, worms, images, the scents of geosmin, creosote, and incinerated ash. As above, so below; inside and alongside.