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Towards a Philosophy of Post-creative Practices? Reading Obvious' “Portrait of Edmond de Belamy”

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As an emerging experimental subfield of AI in general, artificial creativity—that is, acts of creativity performed (semi-)autonomously by algorithmic/software robots—poses a particular set of problems. Most notably, computational/artificial creativity conflicts with the anthropocentric ways in which we have historically invented ‘creativity’ as something uniquely and quintessentially human; hence the term ‘post-creative’. Yet, when seeking to replicate the kinds of activities (or products) that we are prone to label ‘creative’, we often tend to forget the contingencies of the 'creativity dispositif’ (Reckwitz 2017) and its contested and conflictual character. This amnesia includes the ways in which labelling something as ‘creative/not' also, perhaps even primarily, is an aesthetic judgement—either in the traditional sense of philosophical aesthetics, or in the new (Ngai 2012)—rather than merely an ontological statement. To this end, the paper discusses how theories of how art comes into being (sociology of art, the institutional as well as the anti-essentialist theories of art) might have relevance to the issue of creativity as well. Using the recent, heavily debated auctioning of the AI generated painting, “Portrait of Edmond de Belamy” (by Obvious, 2018) as a case this paper will discuss how research into simulating creativity as a productive human activity will have to address not only the new challenges this phenomenon poses, but also some of the older aporias that have long marked our theoretical dealings with the concept ‘creativity’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of POM Beirut 2019
Number of pages10
Publication year2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventPolitics of the Machines: Art/Conflict - Lebanese International University, Beirut, Lebanon
Duration: 11 Jun 201914 Jun 2019


ConferencePolitics of the Machines: Art/Conflict
LocationLebanese International University

    Research areas

  • post-anthropocentric creativity, artificial intelligence, philosophy of art, sociology of art

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