AI Artwork Goes Up for Auction for £30,000 at Sotheby’s

Embracing the latest development in the rapidly emerging field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Art, Sotheby’s is going to present a machine installation that uses neural networks to generate an infinite stream of portraits. The generative work of AI is expected to fetch between £30,000 - 40,000.

Memories of Passersby I

The artwork titled Memories of Passersby I is a ground-breaking installation created by German artist Mario Klingemann. It comprises a wooden console table which hosts an AI computer ‘brain’, and two framed screens upon which the machine’s output - disquieting portraits of imagined masculine and feminine faces - blur hypnotically into focus.

Klingemann’s AI was trained using thousands of portraits from the 17th to 19th centuries, and taught his own aesthetic preferences using a Tinder-like selection application. Using its ‘memory’ of the components of a face, the machine works to generate new portraits.

The machine contains all the algorithms that enable it to generate a new and never-repeating combination of portraits for as long as it is running. Each portrait is unique and is created in real time as the machine interprets its own output.

Mario Klingemann is considered a pioneer in the field of neural networks, computer learning, and AI art. His works have been shown at the Ars Electronica Festival, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, London’s Photographers Gallery, and the Centre Georges Pompidou, among others.

The first piece of AI-generated artwork was sold at Christie’s for US$432,000

Last year, the first piece of AI-generated artwork was sold at Christie’s for US$432,000, a price that far exceeded the presale estimate of US$7,000-10,000.

Mario Klingemann. Memories of Passersby I

Auction house: Sotheby’s London
Sale: Contemporary Art Day Auction
Sale date: 3 March 2019
Estimate: £30,000 - 40,000