CHANG Min Yao, Kusozu, 2022. MP4. Duration: 3 min, 36 sec. Edition of 9 + 2AP.

The Buddhist term ‘kusokan’ is a devotional practice of contemplating the nine stages of a decaying corpse. And ‘kusozu’ is a series of painting that portrays this sequential decay, which has been a common theme in Japanese Buddhist paintings.

Traditionally, by admiring ‘kusozu’ and gazing at the images of a repulsive corpse, the viewer is expected to abstain from the attachment and greed for physical beauty. On the other hand, Chang Ming Yao believes that as AI art generators are becoming increasingly common with the rise of GANs, AI artworks are showing a certain kind of creativity and vitality that is almost 'unmanned'. The ensuing debate over whether traditional painters will be replaced by AI generators also seems to suggest the fear and anxiety for the demise of human/humanity.

By means of an AI generator, the artist attempts to negotiate with the machine through text prompts to paint a series of 'Kusozu'. ‘To me, this work represents both birth and death, and is at the same time unmanned and humane.’

The significance of 'Kusozu' isn’t merely about the corpse decomposition, but more importantly it is about the 'extinction of the human form' as well. Further, it is also about how we break away from the established forms, or from the framework of established aesthetic forms.

‘I believe that the unstable, disordered and unexpected nature of the AI generator, and the fact that the images aren’t constructed through the painter's body-no physical involvement, has made this work even more intriguing.’

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Chang Ming Yao (b. 1987)

Visual artist Chang Ming Yao, who used to create mainly graphic and physical artworks, has recently entered the field of NFTs and is not limited to any specific medium for artistic practice.