gh0.st is the avatar of Scott Button (born 1972, lives and works in London), a self-taught digital artist who uses software and generative AI to make multi-channel video and sound installations in VR and IRL exploring the structure, aesthetics and peculiar characteristics of our digitized reality. He received postgraduate degrees in philosophy (1998) and 3D design (2020) and previously worked as a creative technologist (2000-2017), specializing in visual memes and the data science of viral video diffusion (e.g. this 2006 website).
If software is eating the world, how will it eat art? Algorithms, machine learning, connected devices, these things dominate our daily lives. In the teeth of this, I am a digital artist, using computers to make art, typically moving image work, which explores the ups and downs of our digital lives and asks, ultimately, how we find beauty or solace on a post-human planet.
I have always been fascinated by computers and taught myself to code on a ZX81 when I was in elementary school. My first digital artwork (1983) was a hand-coded portrait, printed on a strip of thermal dot matrix paper an inch and three quarters wide.
The tools and techniques I use today are frequently the same ones that corporations use to make virtual worlds for paying customers. On the one hand I trawl sound archives, code repositories, and libraries of 3D models for found material. On the other hand, I use open source software and commercial applications to manipulate that material, to bend and break it, often using physics simulations, noise, and algorithmic procedures to reduce intentionality and create space for happy accidents.
I hold that the singularity has already happened. We’ve been living on a post-human planet since at least the mid-1990’s. Artificially intelligent agents, in the form of networks of people combined with networks of computers, incorporated into private and public companies, endowed with personhood under company law and enslaved by shareholders, dictate how we live, how we love, how we govern, what we remember, and what we ought to value. These badly designed sub-autonomous AI agents are amoral, ruthless, and unbelievably destructive. We mostly haven’t noticed yet because we expected robot overlords, but have actually been given something more familiar, more diffuse, subtler, and harder to pin down.
Computer-generated imagery, whether through simulation or generative AI, provides a model for a third mode of artistic response, one that is neither an exercise in formal abstraction nor an attempt to capture an impression of the world out there, but rather synthesizes a virtual reality, mingling traditional formal concerns of composition, color, lighting and resemblance with game engine aesthetics, the visual tropes of the post-production industry, and whatever imagination, empathy and courage we can muster.
- Threadripper PRO 3970X, water-cooled
- 4 x EVGA RTX 3080, unlinked, water-cooled
- 256GB DDR4
- 2 x 980 PRO NVMe M.2 2TB SSD
- 4 x 16TB HDD, RAID 1
- 2 x EIZO ColorEdge CG2730
- 2 x ADAM Audio T5V
- Houdini 19.0
- Redshift 3.0
- DaVinci Resolve 18.1
- Ableton Live 11.2
- Stable Diffusion 2.1
- Gimp 2.10