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Land Sea and Sky

Land Sea and Sky combines untouched, idealized landscapes from classic photography with generative, composite landscapes produced by StableDiffusion to create a series of enigmatic collages.



Expanding upon their previous work with landscapes and the built environment, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy have devised a series of enigmatic collages embedded in the vernacular of the American West. Using graphic cut-outs, the artists have created a series of landscapes derived from five databases of AI-developed source images. With StableDiffusion, the artists generated hundreds of landscape images, which were then sorted into five different descriptive databases - Land, Sea, Mountains, Trees, and Sky. Searching these categories, custom scripts generated recombinant landscapes based on natural compositional structures, intertwining early 20th-century visual constructs of nature with 21st-century technology.

Activating distinct elements of each collage with image processing, the interaction of the layers juxtaposes established media processes like photography and collage with the rapidly evolving technology of AI. In the McCoys’ quest for AI-generated images that look more like memory than fantasy, their hand-crafted prompts evoke cross-country road trips, Ektachrome film, and the strange, hazy yellow-green tint of their childhood snapshots. The resulting images sit in the uncanny valley of distant memory.

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