Date of Submission

Fall 2023

Academic Program

Film and Electronic Arts; Experimental Humanities

Project Advisor 1

Joshua Glick

Project Advisor 2

Krista Caballero, Susan Merriam

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Arts of Bard College.

Unnatural Disasters is the story of humanity becoming so individualized that it can no longer save itself from impending doom. This is portrayed symbolically through the main character, Ella, who is gifted the ability to see a mysteriously beautiful entity that not only gives her immense amounts of euphoria to look at, but also seems to justify Ella’s feelings of physical and spiritual superiority simply by existing and being able to be seen.

AI generated video is integral to the project itself. The film contains numerous transitions from real life scenes to nearly identical AI-generated compositions. The shift is slight but noticeable, creating a sense of unease that feels like a sort of transcendence into a world where everything is just a little bit off. In addition to AI, I also used a camera drone, a device most commonly associated with surveillance, to capture footage of my main character making her way through the woods in search of the sound. The incorporation of drone footage aids in the suggestion that she is being watched by someone or something.

AI generated image and video, with all its anatomic imperfections and larger ominous social implications, lends itself more to the world of experimental horror and science fiction than any other genre. In Unnatural Disasters, the AI generated imagery is used to convey a transition from the human to the more than human, or post human, in a way that would easily read to an audience as uncomfortable and even frightening. Though humans are imperfect by nature, the imperfection of AI (where it stands now) is imperfect in an uncanny way. It is human traits and characteristics reflected back at us in a way that not only feels nonhuman, but actually is. The image itself is not made by a living being- it is inorganic by nature. Never before in our history have we been able to collaborate artistically in this way with a nonhuman entity.

Unnatural Disasters is not a horror movie- rather, its creation, and the technologies that brought it to life, are the real horror- or maybe not. Because AI is evolving at an unprecedented rate, my hope is that the project will serve as a kind of time capsule. How it will be received in retrospect depends entirely on the future of these technologies.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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