Here’s a question. Is Generative AI mail art Mail Art? What does the Fluxus Manifesto say? Situationism? Neoism? IUOMA? What are the norms we want to follow here? We all use tech for our work, despite the DIY ethic. Does AI count. Here’s a bunch of Dall-E-generated art from my prompts. Is it Mail Art because I generated the prompt? Have fun with this little puzzle 😊

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Comment by Zack on March 7, 2023 at 7:53am

the singularity will probably occur on the internet before the postal system. i mean, it'll be tough to devise an AI system that can put a stamp on an envelope and then put it in the post, right? i'm thinking that as time goes by, all digital deliveries will become more and more automated and (therefore) suspect. another reason to keep fighting to keep the postal system alive, wherever one lives. and yes, i mean alive.

Comment by nonlocal variable on March 7, 2023 at 4:42am

Thanks for all the comments. Zack, IOUMA is pretty likely scraped, though unlikely the private/login side. Ruud would probably know. I just scanned IOUMA with a tracker tool - Markup's Blacklight. There's Facebook pixel tag and Google Analytics. So data from IOUMA is being sent to both those places. Not uncommon, but probably being mandated from NING.

I'm with most of the "human" side on mail art and AI. ChatGPT, Dall-E, Stable Diffusion etc. are all pretty much horrible, but will be here to stay. That said, making and getting Fluxus works and mail art with paper and physical media is just so aligned with the values and philosophies that brought us Mail Art in the first place - Dada, Lettrists, Situationism, Fluxus et al were all about raging against the machine. And so personal, which the Eternal Network is all about. People. Personally, I'll stick with the physical and keep giving lulz to our mail carrier :-).

Comment by Zack on March 6, 2023 at 11:22pm

thanks for keeping this ball in the air. if you're interested for more on this topic, generally and specifically, check out my blog post: "Yikes! are they scraping IUOMA?" and the responses/comments posted by other IUOMA members.

Comment by Ilya Semenenko-Basin on March 6, 2023 at 8:26pm

"I like seeing the roughness and the imperfections of the human hand in the world". 

I support this idea from Adam!

Comment by CtlAltDel on March 6, 2023 at 7:42pm

That's very true, Mark. And while I cannot stop the AI tsunami that is increasingly dictating our lives, I'm choosing to rail against it just the same, as much as Mail Art railed against an exclusive corporate art industry. However, I realise I'm heading down the 'old man yells at cloud path' lol.

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLOUD - Geisha BarGeisha Bar

Comment by CtlAltDel on March 6, 2023 at 6:45pm

Firstly, these are really cool images. Secondly, anything you send through the mail can be Mail Art. The real question for me is one of authorship. If you use an AI generator, even if you entered the prompts, are you the author of the work? The Dadaists and Surrealists used chance quite a bit, eg throwing coloured shapes onto a surface and then painting in wherever they landed. William Burroughs did something similar with text. But I have to admit, I find something distasteful about AI generators like I do about people who create music using sound libraries. I think we're increasingly erasing the hand of humans from the world and giving it over to machines. So in that way I'm a bit of a unreconstructed Luddite (and proud of it). I like seeing the roughness and the imperfections of the human hand in the world. AI can mimic that but it's not the same for me. 


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