The Fast-Art-Machine


In 2021, the Network Institute published an open call “Use me!” aimed at funding thought-provoking art installations on any aspect at the intersection of technology and society. The winning creative applications were displayed on a 65-inches screen in the VU campus for a whole academic year on a rotating basis. Our jury consisted of a pool of active international artists, creative technologists, and scientists. We funded the best three creative art installations and “(re)think the role of smart sensors in the digital age” was one of the winning ones.

The project

There are smart cameras all around us in the public space. From the police, the city government, big and small companies, and from residents. We may have become used to them by now and feel safe because of them. But these camera’s analyse us with artificial intelligence. And they store these analyses somewhere with a specific purpose. ‘(re)think the role of smart sensors in the digital age’ questions this development. The video installation explores the space between what smart cameras currently do and what they might do in the near future. By doing so we encourage ongoing conversations. How do we want these smart technologies to evolve? Immerse yourself in the installation, talk about it with fellow students and university staff, and let your voice be heard! (See full description below)

The work is created by Anton Donle (student in Computer Science), David Fennema (student in Philosophy), Glenn de Wildt (student in Artificial Intelligence), and funded by the VU Network Institute.

The team who realized the Fast-Art-Machine and their creation (May 2023)

The Fast-Art-Machine in the NU-VU building, 1st floor.

The idea behind the Fast-Art-Machine is to make a vending-machine which can print out an art piece to your liking. You can give the machine a sentence for example “A family standing in front of a house” and then give it a style in which you want it to be made for example “Cubism” or “Surrealism”. The machine, titled Salvador Dall-É, is an artist on demand which can replace the conventional artist and bring art out of the museum and into the public sphere. The prompt given by the user is processed by the GPT3 Dall-E software.

The vending machine is a box made of wood, which has been built by the students themselves. The user can input a text prompt on a tablet or some other type of interface. Afterwards they are encouraged to choose an art style. This could be a cartoon style, a photograph from the 80s, a picture drawn by van Gogh etc. Then, the machine prints the picture on a A6 paper.

The project shows that the fast progress in technology is putting pressure on the art-world. With programs like DALL-E 3 people can make images as wild as their imagination. With the commodification of art, the idea that art can be bought and sold in order to make a profit it is becoming increasingly expensive. What Ikea is for furniture, the Salvador DALL-É is for art. Providing cheap and easy art on command for everyone to enjoy. This machine bridges the gap between the general public and the decadent art world which can sometimes be inaccessible.

Below you can find some examples of pieces of art generated by the Fast-Art-Machine.