Between the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, aspects of what will be called "mass society" began to take shape in the West.
Mass society is characterized by a significant role of the masses to the detriment of the individual who tends to disappear, compared to the group that emerges.
The individual conforms to this in appearance, habits, behaviors and even ideas.
Small traditional communities change face, to take on one that is no longer individually identifiable.
The concepts of conformity and seriality make their way.
This epochal change, thanks to industrialization and a more widespread well-being, is indissolubly and inextricably linked to the overwhelming and overwhelming advance of consumerism.
Through advertising propaganda, supported by the mass media using a new language, made up of images and slogans, mass society is induced to pre-established needs, which only pre-identified products will be able to satisfy.
Only and only these products will be able to generate common sensations and emotions in the entire mass.
We talk about homologation. We speak of the modernist era.
It is in this context that Pop Art was born and developed in the mid-1900s.
Commonly used everyday objects, images and posters of famous people, are emptied of their intrinsic meaning, to become true symbols of consumer society, icons of the collective imagination.
Following these phenomena, starting from the second half of the twentieth century, in the era of mature capitalism, the postmodern mass society is establishing itself.
The rigor of logical thinking, the rules, the certainties achieved, the vision of ineluctable progress, the foundations of modernism, give way to skepticism, indeterminacy, neopragmatism. Reality is now fragmented and uncertain and we intend to live without definitive solutions.
The modern was as orderly and predictable as the postmodern was chaotic, irregular and frail.
The term "liquid society" coined by Zygmunt Bauman to define this period (which we are still going through), is its most explanatory synthesis.
“We have passed to a state of liquidity”.
Ideas, experiences, behaviors, interpersonal relationships, do not have the time to consolidate: everything is fluid, it flows, it slips, it passes. There is a lack of stable references and the speed of change generates confusion and ambiguity in the individual, who apparently flaunts a forced and wild life.
This historical context is fertile ground for the start and development of the digital revolution, with the consequent affirmation of the virtual society: a society divided between being online or offline, unable to switch off, always ready to type. , chat, share, day or night, at work or at home, without distinction.
In this historical excursus we started from the traditional communities to reach the internet users, those who surf the net, learn, get informed, communicate via the internet.
Once again it is mass communication systems that are accomplices and protagonists of the change, with the adoption of further new languages and the use not only of written words, but above all of signs, mottos, abbreviations, slang and a fury of images, so many not to be seen ...
Internet and social media transport the individual outside the narrow physical limits of a room, into a simulated world, where everyone can have their say regardless of skills, where true or false news takes on the same value, where everything flows fast , without certainties, where what is real is indistinguishable from what is invented, but it doesn't matter.
Widening this gap is often added the direct or applied use of advanced technology discoveries, such as Augmented Reality or Artificial Intelligence (AI) apps or software.
If the first is to be understood as the reality that mediated by a computer, allows the enrichment of human sensory perception, through electronically manipulated information, which otherwise would not be perceived by the five senses, in the case of Artificial Intelligence we speak precisely of the ability. of a machine to show human abilities such as reasoning, learning, planning and creativity.
The CEO of a well-known telephony brand claims that AI "adapts to the needs of its user, grows with him, understands their tastes and knows what he wants even before being asked".
The algorithm is the interpreter of the data available and the person responsible for the final result
It goes without saying that the reality and authenticity of situations are sometimes altered if not completely distorted and therefore in the digital age they are severely tested.
AI-CONS was born with the intention of summarizing in images some of the reflections arising from the analysis of this long anthropological journey, which has come down to the present day.
In particular, with regard to the use and re-reading of well-known photographs, the relationship between creativity and technology, the credibility of some apparently authentic images, the story that the same images can tell when the context changes.
The photographs used by Andy Warhol for his most famous screen prints were our starting point.
Instead of being projected on silk soaked in photosensitive emulsion, the portraits were inserted on special AI software, which once made its calculations, created a video composed of faces with expressions that more likely they could have assumed in reality.
The program, in fact, through algorithms, simulated human reactions / emotions, which it then translated into various frames, lasting a few minutes overall.
The choice of the nine frames, which make up a unicum, was random, obtained by blocking the scrolling of the string containing the images, at predetermined time intervals.
If Andy Warhol's work aims to depersonalize the ego, to make the subjects lose what they are like people, enhancing their iconic form of charm, glamor, pleasure, eroticism, rather than pride, royalty, authority, optimism, in AI-CONS, the AI dismantles the icon, which returns to take on human features, even if everything is the result of a purely digital processing.
Here in AI-CONS the portraits, by most, confused with those of the famous screen prints or traced back to Ikea bedroom posters, become another icon, an emblem of our time, a product of contemporaneity. Because?
Not only because they are the result of software and have never existed in the real world, but above all because, even if they have re-appropriated the human component, of which they had been emptied to assume the role of universal icons, it is still a matter of altered, ambiguous, uncertain, sometimes improbable humanity, at the limit between the true and the apparent, also because they reflect the state of the contemporary individual, always in the balance, now accustomed to the lack of reference points, to absent certainties, to doubts solved with generalist solutions.
It is all true because everything is now false. But everything is accepted because in the end the stable point of reference has no value.
These faces, with their grimaces, hinted smiles, provocative or hesitant looks, are born in the digital world and are destined for the virtual world. Now, as then, it is the mass media that make the difference.
They will travel online, they will land on sites, on social networks, on blogs, they will mix with the tsunami of images from which we are submerged every day.
Few will stop to read the accompanying text, but all will express opinions on the anthropological aspect, rather than historical, photographic or technological, someone without even observing will immediately know what it is, others will leave a handful of likes or ask if sharing is possible.
Perhaps the curious, through a series of questions, will attempt a more in-depth reading of the images, which is one of the intentions of AI-CONS and of our works in general.
Who knows if these celebrities would recognize themselves in "artificial" expressions? Would they have allowed the circulation of photographs so different from the character that the collective imagination usually attributes to them?
How much the camera or, in this case, the AI are able to
to make the person emerge from the character and vice versa, distinguishing them?
But the photos of others, if reused, can every time tell new stories, express new concepts?
How much are the virtual world in general and new technologies deceiving us? are they really intelligent or is the last word still up to real human beings?
With the advent of digital technology and all technological supports, how important is the medium compared to those who use it? Has this relationship changed?
But if instead of this long explanation, we had limited ourselves to writing ... AI-CONS is nothing more than a collection of archive photos of famous people, who among the many shots have personally chosen the one most representative for them and which has made them iconic ... Would it have been credible? yes .. no why? The word to Internet users.