We are creating interesting concepts, and we always think big.Synchrodogs
Plutonium F. speaks to Synchrodogs
Plutonium Fitzgerald: Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in creating art?
Synchrodogs: We are Synchrodogs, a duo of fine artists from Ukraine, Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven who have been working together since 2008. We started as photographers but proceeded to work more as mixed media artists, as we both have a background and education in technology. The moment we started classifying ourselves as artists in a wider sense, rather than photographers, it gave us much more freedom in what we can do and how we can construct a shot.
We have always wanted to make some big global changes both in arts and in the world in general, and some years ago we started working on a startup that has an actual scheme and plan of how to make it happen. We are visionaries endlessly creating interesting concepts, and we always think big.
PLUTONIUM F.: What got you interested in creating art with AI tools? How has AI evolved your artistic process?
SYNCHRODOGS: We would say we are ever-evolving artists and have a very multidisciplinary approach that varies from photography, collage, video, CGI, and 3D to installation and land art. When AI first appeared, we perceived it as an interesting tool to experiment with, but we didn't feel 100% comfortable just writing prompts and receiving unexpected and sometimes random results. We wanted AI to be a continuation of our artistic style, so for more than a year, we basically worked on different techniques of merging solely our own photography and artworks. Over 15 years of work, we created more than a thousand unique surrealistic images, which we eventually used as a base to create “Overture” - a project we are now going to present at Fellowship.
PLUTONIUM F.: What inspires you as an artist?
SYNCHRODOGS:There are several important aspects that lead to artwork creation and serve as a kind of inspiration. Our art is about the connection between humans and nature, so for many years we have been trying to highlight the new ways the Earth begins to look as a result of human interventions into environmental processes. Now it feels like we are shifting to a new era where we will be more and more connected with technology. So, the AI instruments we used for “Overture” are representative of this shift.
The other important source of inspiration, from which we literally take our ideas, is our subconscious. Many years ago, we developed our own nighttime meditation techniques, which deal with catching a subtle moment between wakefulness and sleep to write down what we had seen in drowsiness, and stage our visions through art afterward. Most of our works appeared as a result of such experiments. That must be the actual reason why there is so much surrealism in all Synchrodogs' works.
PLUTONIUM F.: You are a part of a group show titled "Post Photographic Perspectives II — Acceptable Realities." Can you discuss how your work fits into this collection?
SYNCHRODOGS: We think it fits perfectly. Fellowship works with such a wide range of different artists, each with their distinctive artistic style, so you can clearly say from which collection this or that piece is from. Our style is also distinctive and very representative of Synchrodogs' aesthetics. We are actually proud of spending thousands of hours experimenting to make it happen.
PLUTONIUM F.: Tell us more about the project. How did you come up with the name and your creative process for this project?
SYNCHRODOGS: The word "Overture" has a long history in the sphere of art and music. Specifically, it has a clear association with classic and traditional art. But apart from being 'the beginning to an opera or play,' the word has a different meaning as well, which is: “an introduction to something more substantial.”
The time we are living in now is only an overture to what is coming. We are literally living in the earliest stages of AI starting to function and help humanity, both in mundane everyday tasks and in providing solutions for the biggest mysteries or problems our planet is facing. We have only seen a small introduction to the future that is coming swiftly; that is the main message of “Overture” itself.
The process behind the project is quite complex. There are 4 different AI tools involved. However, the peculiarity of “Overture” is that it is made by merging solely Synchrodogs' artworks. Our huge base of photography, installations, and materials are all handcrafted and shot by us to achieve the best configurations, and to create a completely new piece of art using neural networks. It is a natural continuation of Synchrodogs rather than a mix of different irrelevant styles.
PLUTONIUM F.: What are your thoughts on the intersection of photography and AI technology?
SYNCHRODOGS:In every genre of art, there are specifically talented artists who stand out from the crowd. We think it is very easy to make art (including photographic art) with the help of AI, but it is not so easy to make something truly special, something that would stand out. This responsibility lies on the artist. We have always considered ideas to be the main factor that defines good art, and tools are only secondary. So, artists should not rely on AI alone to make art; they should take the best of the technology and experiment with the tools to create something truly different, something that eventually becomes a part of history.
We have always considered ideas to be the main factor that defines good art, and tools are only secondary.Synchrodogs
PLUTONIUM F.: Anything you would like to share with people skeptical about AI tools for creativity?
SYNCHRODOGS: If we dig deeper into when photography just appeared 200 years ago, people were skeptical. Painters claimed that photography wasn't art as it only took one click to capture a portrait (while the painting process of the same portrait might have taken weeks). They called photography cheating, but in fact, they were afraid of losing their jobs, as who would want to wait for their portrait for that long with a new invention coming to the masses?
We can definitely see the situation repeating itself a bit when some people claim, "It's not art if it's made by a computer in just one click." Can you feel the resemblance? If we talk about AI in a global sense, we are sure that its use needs to be controlled and taken care of. However, we also have to admit that progress is not standing still, and we can use AI for brilliant purposes and in quite diverse ways.
PLUTONIUM F.: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. What is the best way for people to follow you and learn more about you and your work?