Computer history by Balenciaga

Last updated 4 months ago

With the proliferation of new digital superpowers enabled by machine learning and AI, new mediums and methods of creation previously impossible or out of reach to us are becoming commonplace. Soon we may consider them to be mundane aspects of the new world we’re living in.

The Harry Potter by Balenciaga video took the world by storm. Partly because it was so ridiculous and a perfect intersection of familiar (Harry Potter) and uncanny (Balenciaga), but even moreso I think because it gave us a first glimpse as a society of this weird world of AI-generated content we’re moving towards. This meme, and all the variations that followed, marks the beginning of a new golden age of creativity. A strange age in which everyone has incredible creative tools at their fingertips, where teenagers can create feature films while they’re bored at school, but also a world in which we’re competing against those very same tools, where human expression and creativity is devalued by an infinite stream of content made by machines taking control of the entire creative process.

We are seeing the future of media, and computing, unraveling in front of us in real-time. I thought then, it would be fun to make my own Balenciaga meme featuring figures from computer history. Ironically, I think it is best interpreted from the perspective that it’s neither about Balenciaga nor about history— though that much might be obvious from my observations above. Really, I made this for myself, both to experiment with combining together these different AI-powered tools, and as a way to bide my time while sick in Japan. It turned out pretty nicely though; and, having spent 16 hours putting it together, in the end I decided to share it with the wider interneting world.