Still Life is a project which the artist depicts as a moving postcard from the “meantime” of technological evolution. Its stillness – indeed, deadness – lends itself to a dual interpretation. While this representation of nature indeed includes depictions and images of transience, dying, and decline, at the same time it thoroughly relies on artificiality. The film is not a camera recording of real plants or people. Instead, the entirety of the image was developed by the artist using graphic software. The nature shown in it is inanimate – it is dead, not because of its passing or its static quality, but because it has actually never been alive. Grzywacz even came up with a “synthetic” narrative. Specifically, he did not pen the poetic depictions of the situation, but selected pieces generated by a reduced version of the GPT-2 program, an AI system which is capable of producing texts by imitating the tone and themes of an input piece. The software was developed by an OpenAI research team led by Elon Musk. At the moment, OpenAI is managed by an organization comprised of the OpenAI staff (Greg Brockman, Ilya Stutskever, and Sam Altman), Adam D’Angelo, Holden Karnofsky, Reid Hoffman, Shivon Zilis, and Tasha McCauley. The software proved so effective that it was not made publicly available in order to prevent possible abuses of its potential. Later, the researchers decided to share its weaker, less educated version called 345M, a name derived from the 345,000,000 parameters it uses to anticipate successive words of the text it generates.
Development: Krystian Grzywacz
Narrative: GPT-2 345M
Sound production: Paulina Czarek
Krystian Grzywacz (1994) – graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk in 2016 and from the Academy of Arts and Design in Wroclaw in 2019. A multimedia artist working with video, animation, VR, and sculpture, he most frequently develops diversified simulations. His works have been shown at group exhibitions in Poland and internationally. His BA project Vacant Spaces won the main prize at the 3rd Competition for Media Art Graduation Projects (2017). He is currently part of Gnojki, a Tri-City-based social, artistic, and DJ collective.