Charles Harries

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Looking Glass AI

Starting to appreciate AI aesthetic

Sapporo contemporary

It feels like, for a few years in the early/mid 2010s, the aesthetic of vaporwave was: what if artificial intelligence tried to assemble a pastiche of capitalistic trends from the 1980s and 1990s, back when things were no less sinister but somehow less dangerous? The album artwork that stands out to me is Vektroid's Sapporo Contemporary from 2012, but there are plenty of others.

For the most part, vaporwave has moved on from this sort of thing, but real artificial intelligence has caught up—to building wonky pastiches, at least. There are all sorts of AI image remixing algorithms out there, but Looking Glass (which produced the Weezer Blue Album image at right) is the first one that's produced more than trippy nightmare-scapes.

The result is not remotely vaporwave. Instead, it seems like AI is developing its own aesthetic, based around heavy copy-pasting (and inserting eyes everywhere for some reason). It's hard not to laugh at it, at this point—because some of these remixes are legitimately funny—but I'm really interested in where this is going from a, like, Legitimate Art kind of perspective.