During my recent work I have taken a new tool into grasp; artificial intelligence. Developing a series of studies I am taking a quantum-leap from the Lascaux series into my new series of works named SKINWALKER IO. These studies will become available as NFT’s via Annika Nuttall Gallery very shortly.
Skinwalker.io as a series relates by the name to the ancient stories of magical beings that could transform into, possess or disguise themselves as animals and biological entities. In modern western pop-culture this has often been referred to in science fictional ways such as John Carpenters movie ”the thing” from 1982 where the skinwalker came in various biological hazardous ways. As a bacterial infection or a virus, changing its host into a sentient alien being. However during my studies with the artificial intelligences it struck me that the skinwalker was not me the human being necessarily, rather the alien lifeform expanding its knowledge about me from each typing into the prompt. I/O is the technical term for the the data or information that is passed into or out of a computer; as I was becoming aware that the real Skinwalker possessing and disguising itself was the I/O (computer input).
Just as we are currently witnessing the largest allocation of wealth in late modern history (2020-2022); this overseen but equally deteriorating power structure and evolutionary step in human creative consciousness are taking place simultaneously. It may sound pompous in all its fabulation here. But it is however nonetheless the dawn of a new era when it comes to artistic expression and artistic research. Artificial Intelligence has reached a point where it is possible to let them assist you within the creative processes, when developing new works of art. But at what cost? The Prompt-whisperers are slowly but securely entering our collective consciousness and the tales of their disguise and possessing powers are yet to be told.
In 2019 Johannes Holt Iversen started to experiment with the ‘Beta’-series with silver reflective materials. In the solo exhibition ‘Interference’ of the same year these pieces were shown publicly in Denmark for the first time. A single, small, shiny piece with lots of colours stole the attention of the show, it being the first and only piece at the exhibition made from holographic PVC which would go on to characterise the series going forward.
Continued experimentation with the direction of the last piece in the ‘Beta’-series led to the combination of holographic PVC with reflective polyester and two-sided pigmented colours which would go on to be titled ‘Dual-Core II’-series. The combination of materials and forms would reflect even more light than the previous series, often talked about as the ‘Northern-lights’ effect.
Further studies into materials, pigments, and the colours they create by light reflections, made Johannes Holt Iversen conduct experimentations with organic forms. Under the last layer outer, he added a layer of silicone which created an expression of lifeforms with a capillary system. More human, yet in an alien body he titled this series ‘The Respiratory System’.
Being limited by available physical materials Johannes Holt Iversen had to go in another direction for further his studies on the path that the ‘Beta’-series had started. With the limits of the physical world Johannes started to go digital, working in collaboration with AI to figure out – ‘the next step’. Conceptualizing, sketching, and understanding the language of these machines was the focus – working together to create the next step within his art practice that had previously been physical sculptural objects and paintings.
‘The Skinwalker IO Study-Series’ is the result of this experimentation process, which will soon be available.
Right from the beginning of his artistic practice, Johannes Holt Iversen has found great interest in subject and matter. With this, his artistic research often results in an object-based work, where not only the figure is important, but also the space and the scenery surrounding the figure.
In an advanced research process, Johannes Holt Iversen concretizes his work around the organic and the inorganic, from which the starting point is the depictions that were found in the southern French Lascaux caves, which, among other things, show a starting point for human self-representation being set against a future-inspired technology, such as his choice of materials.
Johannes Holt Iversen finds the technology and what is made possible in connection with the technology to be a necessary tool to get further into the visual process of his work. Therefore, new material difficulties are further processed in technological systems, where these difficulties are no longer regarded as difficulties, but as artistic opportunities.
Johannes Holt Iversen has worked with the Lascaux series “beta”, which is a leap forward for his Lascaux series, over a period of time and further developed what was possible from there – and now he has come to a technological threshold where it is no longer physically possible to develop further on this material investigation, by the time being, with current years of technology available; which is why his sketching apparatus now exists on a digital platform alongside his investigations of the object-based works.
The AI technologies are endless, and therefore it is the perfect way to further develop and theorize a physical material in order to arrive at new possibilities that can be physically produced later.
The Skinwalker IO study-series, which was prepared by Johannes Holt Iversen in collaboration with artificially intelligent machines, is therefore sketches and process work and further development of Johannes Holt Iversen’s art practice to continue physically develop, both sculptural objects and paintings, now in the assistance of hyper-intelligent machines.