Currents 064: Michael Garfield and J.F. Martel on Art x AI



Jim talks with Michael Garfield and J.F. Martel about the intersection of AI and art. They discuss DALL-E & Midjourney, whether conscious agency is necessary for art, artifice vs discernment, Jung’s synchronicity, AI art as dreaming, discernment & consecration, the modern vs the algorithmic self, the CIA’s role in funding abstract expressionism, the imaginal aspect & Walter Benjamin’s historicity, Borges’s Library of Babel & problems with infinity, biological reproduction as the central technological issue, the tension between prediction and understanding, art’s inherent unpredictability, garage bands, noise & play in artistic creativity, returning to the analog world, and much more.

Artist and philosopher Michael Garfield helps people navigate our age of accelerating weirdness and cultivate the curiosity and play we’ll need to thrive in it. As host and producer of both Future Fossils Podcast & The Santa Fe Institute’s Complexity Podcast, Michael acts as interlocutor for a worldwide community of artists, scientists, and philosophers — a practice fed by and and feeding back into his fifteen years of synthetic and transdisciplinary “mind-jazz” performances in the form of essayavant-guitar, and live painting. Bearing the standard for a new generation of mystic-scholars and refusing to be enslaved by a single perspective, creative medium, or intellectual community, Michael walks through the walls between academia and festival culture, theory and practice — speaking and performing everywhere from Moogfest to Burning Man, SXSW to Boom Festival, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to Long Now‘s Ignite Talks to The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors while raising two kids.

J.F. Martel is a Canadian writer, filmmaker, and podcaster. He is the author of Reclaiming Art in the Age of Artificepublished in 2015 by Evolver Editions. In addition to making several dramatic short films, he has worked as screenwriter and director on numerous television documentary programs for French and English broadcasters, in Canada and abroad. With musicologist Phil Ford, Martel co-hosts Weird Studies, an arts and philosophy podcast. His Twitter handle is @jf_martel.