The politics of visual indeterminacy in abstract AI art

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In Perception Engines and Synthetic Abstractions, two generative AI art projects begun in 2018, Tom White experiments with visual abstraction to explore the indeterminacy of perception, interpretation, and agency. White’s AI systems produce images likely to be interpreted as abstract artworks by human viewers, but the artist also confronts human audiences with the realization that what is here deliberately rendered indeterminable for them remains near-perfectly legible for AI-powered image recognition systems. This difference in perceptual and interpretive agency foregrounds an underlying politics of visual indeterminacy. It increases critical awareness of how machine vision---for example in automated online filtering systems---can reshape and diminish the horizon of what human audiences can or cannot see in an AI-driven digital cultural landscape.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Early online date20 Oct 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Oct 2022


  • AI art
  • Visual indeterminacy
  • Abstraction
  • Generalisation
  • AI bias
  • Agency


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