We have all read a piece of literature before that made our minds wander through elaborately detailed environments. We imagine entire worlds and immerse ourselves in the practice of world-making. These environments exist virtually in the relationship between the words on the page and our imaginative experience. Do we all imagine the same environment? How might the environment change if our experience or knowledge of it changes? How might it change if the experience and knowledge is not solely our own, if it exists in parallel with ours?
This Course will explore the relationship between text and image through the eyes of a machine. We will utilize the open-source knowledge of pretrained machine learning models to translate text to image and image into cinematic environments. We will engage with the subjectivity of the machine to imagine virtual environments created not only from our own imagination, but from a collaborative endeavor between the author, the machine, and ourselves.
from the course syllabus summer 2022
VI. To Every Man His Chimera
"Under a vast gray sky, on a vast and dusty plain without paths, without grass, without a nettle or a thistle, I came upon several men bent double as they walked. Each one carried on his back an enormous Chimera as heavy as a sack of flour, as a sack of coal, as the accoutrement of a Roman foot-soldier. But the monstrous beast was no inanimate weight; on the contrary, it hugged and bore down heavily on the man with its elastic and powerful muscles..."
V. The Double Room
"A room that is like a dream, a truly spiritual room, where the stagnant atmosphere is nebulously tinted pink and blue.... There is about it something crepuscular, bluish shot with rose; a voluptuous dream in an eclipse. Every piece of furniture is of an elongated form, languid and prostrate, and seems to be dreaming; endowed..."
XXVI. The Eyes of The Poor
"That evening, a little tired, you wanted to sit down in front of a new cafe forming the corner of a new boulevard still littered with rubbish but that already displayed proudly its unfinished splendors. The cafe was dazzling. Even the gas burned with all the ardor of a debut, and lighted with all its might the blinding whiteness of the walls, the expanse of mirrors..."
"Vauvenargues says that certain avenues in the public parks are haunted... Finally, in the afternoon, under a lovely autumn sky, one of those skies out of which such a multitude of memories and regrets rain down, she sat on a bench some distance from the crowd..."
― quoted from Paris Spleen by Charles Baudelaire