Infinite Eddies

Evie Godfrey2023 Longlist, 2023 Opening Up Prize Shortlist, 2023 Shortlist - Main Prize, Opening Up

Infinite Eddies (2023) explores the affective dimension of Midjourney’s generative AI mediating one source photograph of my father and myself. Prompts recontextualize our mediated image in other places, times, narrative realms, and visual aesthetics, yet across the set the configuration of our bodies, our expressions, remain constants. I theorize this manifest recurrence in dialogue with what theorist Hiroki Azuma calls anime’s “moe-elements,” the tagged visual or other elements searchable via the otaku engine, TINAMI (eg. mermaid; tail). Where “moe-elements” detach from the anime character in recombinatory new formations, Midjourney’s cumulative reinscriptions of the physical configuration of our bodies suggests an alternative “affective element” (Kalinovski 2022) in the visual evocation of a relationship, expressed in myriad variations and mutations. Playing with prompts to influence the computational temperature of results, this recurrent, mutable element troubles Benjamin’s formulation of the aura of the original work of art, conjuring instead an aura of affect in social relation and physical configuration, retained across an expanding set of images that are not photographs. The aggregate effect is of eddies or ripples around the source photo, the unseen pebble dropped in a virtual pool.

This project was one of two discussed in a talk given at the MIX Storytelling in Immersive Media Conference, 7th July 2023, at the British Library. The other project discussed was a precursor Twine project, Infinity +1.