The Daily Heller: You Are About to Enter Another Dimension …

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Rod Serling intoned this phrase at the beginning of his prescient weekly TV series, The Twilight Zone, adding, it is “a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind.” Today, we’d add, “and CG.” (Just think what early sci-fi would have been with all this digi-dimensional wizardry. Better? Worse? It was certainly more difficult. Or was it?)

A new book caused acute anticipation in me. Today, super-enhanced dimensional rendering is more desktop than ever … and continues to move forward at breakneck speed. “We are living in a time where fantasy can be rendered reality and dreams are as possible to fabricate as they are to conceive,” writes Hannah Stouffer in the preface to Computer Generated: The 3D Anthology (Ginko Press) by Kyle Goodrich. She is underscoring Goodrich’s author’s statement that “… in recent years, the tools used to create digital art have become more affordable and easier to learn.”

You might say that Computer Generated is the codification of the CGI (or CG) “movement.” Many books on digitally produced art (much heavier on technical text than this one) have been published over the past five years, but Generated looks more than either an attempt at serious justification or trivial novelty. The text, while minimal, is easy to comprehend and the book (or album) has heft and credibility, allowing the work to stand on its own. As Goodrich adds, “Digital artists deserve to be celebrated in books, galleries and museums—yet because of the nature of medium living online, they don’t always get that recognition.”

César Pelizer

I admit that I was not a computer graphics fan (other than for the occasional vector art) for the better part of its early existence. Then, just as I was beginning to find a level of originality as my entry point, DALL-E, Midjourney and Stable Diversion, with their keen programming to scrape existing data, drove me back into my cave. When I received Computer Generated, the AI art generators were just making news (although they’d been around), so I decided to put this book aside until someone told me what to think about the brave new world. After two or three instructional YouTube videos on DALL-E, I was calm enough to dive into this volume—and what a dive it was.

Joseph Melhuish

Whether or not this work fits my personal art preferences and art directorial aesthetics is irrelevant. Some of what is included is obviously creatively superior to others. But all the works are done with impressive levels of artistry and craft. Much here suggests there is more to come; the future is brighter than I imagined. And allowing for the inevitable influences and inspirations by earlier artists and preceding styles, I found patterns of derivative work leading to some original creations.

There may still be much more to evolve and develop, which is no surprise. As Tobias Revell reminds us in the book, “Computers were never intended to have a visual component. After all, why would anything beyond a machine need to show us anything beyond a scientific output?” But at least as presented here, computer-generated art has emerged from the digital swamp onto dry cultural banks and even beyond.

Enrique Escalona
Chrome Destroyer
Roger Kilimanjaro