Jason Allen, a video game designer in Pueblo, Colorado, spent roughly 80 hours working on his entry to the Colorado State Fair’s digital arts competition. Judges awarded him first place, which came with a $300 prize. But when Allen posted about his win on social media late last month, his artwork went viral—for all the wrong reasons.
Allen’s victory took a turn when he revealed online that he’d created his prize-winning art using Midjourney, an artificial intelligence program that can turn text descriptions into images. He says he also made that clear to state fair officials when he dropped off his submission, called Théâtre D’opéra Spatial. But over the last week or so, his blue ribbon has sparked an impassioned debate about what constitutes art.
Allen, for his part, says he intended to make a statement with his artwork—and, considering the lively online discourse around it, he feels like he accomplished that goal. He doesn’t appear to have broken any official state fair rules, either.
Per the Chieftain, the fair’s submission guidelines do not directly mention A.I.-generated art, but they define digital arts as “artistic practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process.”
Source: Smithsonian Magazine