Auriea Harvey & Jacolby Satterwhite
Two artists discuss video games, virtual worlds, and how their training in painting and sculpture shapes their work in digital media.
What does it mean to be human in a transhuman era? This question is at the core of Sasha Stiles’s poetic and artistic practice. Her early writing explored futuristic ideas such as cryogenics, artificial wombs, and robotic monks—but always presented in traditional print formats and channels. Gradually, she began searching for ways to incorporate technology into how these texts were produced and disseminated. She taught herself to work with code, blockchains, and artificial intelligence: tools that allowed her to dwell in (to use her words) “the liminal space between human and machine.”
In this virtual studio visit, Stiles—who lives and works just outside New York City—discussed some of her most significant projects, which span from paintings of binary code to poems co-authored with an AI. She explained how her technical experiments have led her to blur the boundaries between text and image in her work, highlighting the degree to which aesthetics shape the meaning and interpretation of language. She also got into the specifics of how since 2018 she has developed her “AI alter ego” and collaborator: a series of text generators powered by large language models and fine-tuned with data sets of Stiles’s own writing. Stiles has christened the AI “Technelegy,” a name intended to evoke not just the advancements but also what might be lost or grieved as we move towards an increasingly hybrid future.