Blue lard

Author Vladimir Sorokin
Category Columnists, Culture, News, People, Town
Date May 14 2024
Reading Time 2 min.

Blue lard

The art world has witnessed a unique phenomenon: an exhibition where classical literature meets modern technology face-to-face. Berlin and New York have already appreciated this project, and soon it will reach London. The initiative, combining artificial intelligence and creativity, raises many questions. How does the author himself perceive these changes? After all, works created in cooperation with AI do not merely reproduce the writer’s ideas; they take on a new life, often different from the original concept.

The exhibitions in Berlin and New York introduced the public to clone-like representations of great Russian writers, becoming part of a large art project initiated by the cultural theorist and gallery owner Marat Gelman. A project that began years ago is now taking physical form, bringing a new understanding of classics. And now, the author of such an initiative, Vladimir Sorokin, finds himself facing his own characters, who, reborn through AI, explore the boundaries of new autonomy…

Blue lard | London Cult.
© Denis Grigoryev

They look at the author not with reproach, but with certainty: you are no longer ENTIRELY our author. You may have invented us, but it was not you who brought us to life! AI did. And the author has nothing to respond. He can mumble something like: the idea is foremost, it is the foundation of any work of art, any book or film, without an idea, nothing canhappen, nothing will maerialize.

But they look at me and question:

Do you recognize us? Is this how you envisioned us when you wrote your novel?

No, not like that, – I earnestly reply.

Then we are no longer yours, but by ourselves, like Kipling’s cat. And we go where we want. Today, we decided to take a walk-throughNew York.

Blue lard | London Cult.
© Denis Grigoryev

I won’t disturb you. Enjoy your walk.

To confirm my status as author, all that remains for me is to supplement texts to theimages of these cloned great Russian writers. They were created as an independent art project, waited for several years, and now here they are. The puzzle is complete. Now the cloned Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Akhmatova, Nabokov, and Pasternak, are together along with the drafts of their manuscripts. This happened thanks to the tireless Marat Gelman, a pioneer of new and unusual projects, who conceived the idea of this combination and the subsequent exhibition. The embodiment of characters and authorial plots was handled by promptengineers Evgeny Nikitin and +-, Group (Boban Markovich, Ruslan Solopeev, YevGuelman). According to the novel, the writer clones work in a Siberian genetic laboratory. During the writing process, precious blue lard, a substance unaffected by the second law of thermodynamics, accumulates under their skin.

Blue lard | London Cult.
© Denis Grigoryev

I hope that visitors to this exhibition will also accumulate something. If not blue lard, then an awareness that our tumultuous century not only shakes and shifts socio-political tectonic plates but also cultural ones.

Blue lard | London Cult.
© Denis Grigoryev

Looking into the eyes of my characters, brought to life by rapidly evolving AI, I understood that literature in our time has ceased to be a book that can be taken off the shelf, read, and placed back. The 21st century challenges literature: can it correspond? Is itfalling behind? Can it keep up? Or is it hopelessly outdated and now condemned to forever settle in second-hand bookstores, libraries, and philological articles? We, the writers of our century, have to answer these questions. The fate of paper pages covered with letters, bound, pulled together by a cover, forming the well-known object from which humanity has not yet parted, depends on our answers.

Blue lard | London Cult.
© Denis Grigoryev

That’s why the clones of the great classics look so intensely into our eyes.

 

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