Set in Stone

A mosaic of a AI generated face made up of DCGAN generated faces

A series of marble faces, generated by AI, as it learns to create and update its bias’ on gender. First it is trained to generate masculine marble faces, fixed, immovable. Then marble feminine faces are added. It learns to change, a transgender neural network, updating its knowledge and its experience as it goes. Then the marble starts to give way, non-conforming self expression, color, joy, emerging as the gender becomes unfixed, non-binary. Through this evolving conceptual artwork I am exploring how my machine creates images representing gender and if it holds onto its trained bias. I am examining what the gender shift looks like and what transgender and non-binary self expression and self aware aesthetics are beyond biological essentialism. The datasets used by the machine are created by me using 3D modeling and echo the idealized masculinity and femininity of classical statuary with a more inclusive bent. I am purposely training bias into my machine and then attempting to unbias it and see how the artwork evolves as the machine learns that there are multiple genders and gender expressions.

The works you see on the wall and the screen are moments in time in the training of the Deep Convolutional Generative Adversarial Network as I manipulate the dataset it relies on to challenge its bias. As it learns it generates sample images to show its progress and understanding. The samples are entirely represented in the video to represent the full training of the neural network to date. The works on the wall consist of the sample rendered into a mosaic of a face. They are chosen by the application. This is part of my ongoing research project and is an evolving conceptual piece.

In my case I trained these as single works rather than a grid, the gridded training appears to require more epochs per train as the dataset is small. I am using 1000 images per gender. The images in the dataset have been created by me using 3D modeling and renders to gain different angles and a variety of physical features as the figure morphs between different sculpts and appearances. The marble texture recalls classical sculpture, but also the rigidity of stone of being cisgender and of the opinions of some people about the supposed immutability of gender. The addition of color symbolizes the breaking free of gender constraints, of leaving the stone behind and gaining warmth and color. As the series progresses I anticipate adding further transgender aesthetics in full color, having completely shed the restrictions of stone to realize your self. 

These works have been created as a work in development and so far are being displayed at Future Histories as a mural and a video work showing the training process.