The Intersection of Blindness and Art: Exploring Unique Perspectives


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 29, 2023

3 min read


The Intersection of Blindness and Art: Exploring Unique Perspectives

Art has always been a medium through which individuals express their unique perspectives and experiences. From traditional paintings to digital art generated by algorithms, the concept of authorship and originality has evolved over time. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating connection between blindness, generative art, and the challenges faced by artists in claiming ownership.

One of the most poignant discussions surrounding the concept of authorship in art is exemplified in the life of Molly Burke, a blind YouTuber and motivational speaker. In her video titled "Every Way Being Blind Makes My Life Different," Molly shares her personal experiences and sheds light on how her blindness shapes her perception of the world. Through her frank and heartfelt narrative, she challenges societal norms by showcasing that even though she may experience the world differently, her voice and artistic expression are just as valid.

In a parallel realm, the digital art realm, Michael Noll's Quadratic Gaussian stands as a testament to the intricate relationship between generative art and copyright. Created 60 years ago, this piece of digital art was copyrighted after a lengthy debate. Initially, Noll faced rejection due to the perception that a machine had generated the work. However, he emphasized that a human being had written the program, incorporating both randomness and order. Eventually, Noll's persistence paid off, and Quadratic Gaussian was registered as a "Geometric Abstract Forms."

The struggles faced by Noll in claiming authorship for his generative art piece parallel the challenges faced by AI artists today. The notion of personal originality and the uniqueness of a work are still central concerns. AI artists, like their human counterparts, define the parameters for generation and then select a specific work. In a similar vein, the AI artist can associate a prompt and a seed to create a unique piece. This highlights the ongoing debate surrounding the role of the generator as the "author" of AI art.

Interestingly, the concept of corporate ownership in generative art has also been explored. Bell Labs, where Noll worked when he created Quadratic Gaussian, considered applying some form of corporate ownership to generative art. However, they ultimately supported Noll's copyright application, distancing themselves from claiming ownership. This demonstrates the complexity and evolving nature of authorship in the digital age.

As the field of AI art continues to evolve, there are pressing concerns regarding public accountability. AI-generated artworks have the potential to create significant challenges in determining authorship and originality. The immense collective memory of major artworks further complicates the assignment of authorship, particularly if the prompts used in the generation process do not carefully acknowledge influential authors and artworks.

In conclusion, the intersection of blindness and art provides a unique perspective on the challenges surrounding authorship in generative art. Molly Burke's personal experiences shed light on the importance of inclusivity and the recognition of diverse voices in the artistic realm. The journey of Michael Noll and his copyright application for Quadratic Gaussian highlights the ongoing debates surrounding the role of the generator as the "author" of AI art.

As we navigate this complex landscape, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace inclusivity: Encourage diverse voices and perspectives in the art world. Recognize that individuals with different abilities, like Molly Burke, have valuable insights to offer.
  • 2. Foster dialogue: Engage in open discussions surrounding the concept of authorship in generative art. Explore the ethical implications and potential solutions to challenges faced by AI artists.
  • 3. Promote transparency: Ensure that AI-generated artworks acknowledge influential authors and artworks in their prompts. This helps to maintain a sense of accountability and integrity in the field.

By embracing these actions, we can create a more inclusive and responsible art world that celebrates the unique perspectives of all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

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