June 27, 2023

Material Potential: Sara Ludy On Working With AI, Painting, and Generating a Surreal Dance Party In The Ocean

Featured Artists

Sara Ludy's series: Daance Dange Daice is a collection of 225 distinct works of otherworldy images of alienated joy and celebration. Originally commissioned for Refraction Festival Miami 2022. The title, Daance Dange Daice, comes from AI generated text anomalies of the word “Dance”.

Ludy is an American artist and composer who's interdisciplinary practice explores hybrid forms emerging from the confluence of nature and simulation to explore notions of immateriality and being. Ludy has shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Vancouver Art Gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art, Berkeley Art Museum, and Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Her work has been featured in Modern Painters, The New York Times, Art Forum, Art in America, and Cultured Magazine.

Refraction caught up with her to discuss her work with AI and the Daance Dange Daice project which is now collectable on Zora.

When did you first start working with AI?

I started experimenting with AI in 2022. I’ve used tools in the past that utilize AI in some way, but not as directly as I am now. I began with DALLE mini and used that for several months since the low-res images contained new forms of artifacts and textures I found to be exciting. They reminded me so much of the found internet images I’ve been collecting for years and the ones I post on my blog Low Prim (2012), so I rebooted it last year to include AI generations; pages 101 - current.

Like Low Prim, AI reengaged me with painting again. One day I generated images of “Haunted hot dog carts” in DALLE mini and I immediately had the desire to turn them into physical paintings. Once the paintings were finished, I deleted the AI generations so that the paintings were the only things left. I made a few AI prompt paintings and then just started painting anything and everything again. For a year now, I’ve been deep into painting and AI processes, largely experimenting and uncovering the potential of their materiality. Works are naturally emerging from this experimentation.

Can you talk a bit about Daance Dange Daice?

Daance Dange Daice (2022) is the first moving image AI work I’ve made. I generated hundreds of images, selected a few, and choreographed them in such a way that they rhythmically aligned with the dance music playing during the festival. I used a variety of prompts for the images, but essentially wanted them to have a sense of isolation and distance so that they feel a bit at the edge of the Earth, and Miami has always felt that way to me. So, I generated people having a dance party in the ocean, to contextualize the work within the pandemic and the festival.

What AI works are you currently working on?

A few months ago, I made Somewhere between flatworms and computers (2023)  a digital painting that reflects on the boundaries of materiality and intuition through AI, and I recently finished an AI painting series that will be released soon, TBA. I’m currently experimenting with AI video, coding animations, and hybrid paintings. It’s wild how quickly AI has changed my process, and I believe that’s the case for many of us. I’ve always been interested in hybridity and the collapse and expansion of mediums and dimensions.  AI is a natural medium for me to work with.

Collect Daance Dange Daice now on Zora. A portion of the proceeds will go to supporting Rhizome’s Anniversary Benefit. Rhizome champions born-digital art and culture through commissions, exhibitions, scholarship, and digital preservation. Founded by artist Mark Tribe as an email discussion list including some of the first artists to work online, Rhizome has played an integral role in the history of contemporary art engaged with digital technologies and the internet.

More Articles

See all articles