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  • Foto do escritorRuy Cézar Campos

[imaginAIres] Strata: a geophotographic AI fiction

Atualizado: 9 de out. de 2023

I am currently reading the book 'Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings,' edited by Jack Flam, with the aim of gaining a deeper and more varied understanding of the potential contributions of the artist to a geological media thought. In 'Geology of Media,' Jussi Parikka identifies Robert Smithson as a foundation for an alternative media thought line to Marshall McLuhan and others, due to his focus on geology and the implications that geological thinking generates in the context of the Anthropocene recognition.


One of the texts that surprised me was 'Strata: a geophotographic fiction.' The text features a layout that plays with the relationship between text and image and provides a series of prompts that can easily be applied in artificial image generators today. I am not convinced that these image generators produce art as a result, nor do I believe that the imagery they evoke can correspond to Robert Smithson's imagination.


Nevertheless, I undertook the exercise of selecting 72 prompts offered by Smithson and inputting them into the Dall-E3 image generator for an assignment in the course 'Making a Life of Art,' offered by Nato Thompson at the Alternative Art School, where I am a fellow. Below is the list of prompts along with a selection of images. At some point in the future, I hope to write something about this exercise.


greensands accumulated over wide areas in shallow water


remains of a flightless bird discovered in a chalk pit


a display of plaster trriceratops eggs in a glass case


infra-red photographs of the gulf of geosyncline


data drilled from holes

a landslide of maps


tectonic islands surrounded by greem foam


a generalized geologic cross section showing magma offshoots


a diagram showing a fault zone, 1970s paper


a photograph of rotten diabase



evaporation causes land to shrink



a drawing of the skull of the repile elginia (related to pareiasaurus, from permian sandstone in englin, n.e. scotland, drawn to one-quarter natural size)


emains of slow waddling creatures found in russia and south africa




a vulcano is a spiracle to a subterranean furnace



dward fauna



aerial photographs of glaciation



daguerreotype showing vasts deposits of salt and gypsum




stratigraphic maps of oil deposits



photomicrographic studies of fossil frost



a spirally coiled band of teeth belonged to helicoprion






diorama of ash heaps


negatives of shelly organisms



photograph of limestones near bloomington, indiana


purely static shapes, flumps glimpses through the eyes of eriops



words sinking into the muck and mire


a camara obscura reproduces a paleologic map



diagram showing eustatic movement - rise and fall of sea level of 100 feet in 400,00 years


aquatint engravings of fossils



geography of the lower carboniferous period shown on an oval map, with black dots symbolizing land plants


slug like creatures glide over dead calamites


polished pieces of silica rock, fungal thread and resting spores




tree ferns decay into flora cemeteries


a faint illusionistic backdrop extends a false undersea landscape



fossiliferous rocks crumble in maine



huge quantities of pebbles, sand and mud




nothing but bland references to a vague set of geologic formations



the silurian night casts the nine foot sea scorpions into total darkness, where they lived mainly in estuaries and coastal lagoons



silence, darkness, and dismal perfection



coral breakdown




sodium chloride in the eyes



sponges with a framework of silica




painting showing an ordovician south dakota




a sort of jigsaw puzzle for geologists



x-ray view of an oil well




an illustration of the austral sea (blue on gray dots)



excavations at dinosaur national monument in northeastern utah



they ploughed their way through the mud


plaster restorations collecting dust in the museum of natural history



accumulations of waste on the sea bottoms



limp-looking crustaceans, dying by the millions



lime-secreting collenia


mountains of jelly fish



clouds made of paper



a drawing of cascadia drawn parallel to the pacific coast


half tone pictures of stratified rocks



photograph of banded red chert or jasper in the soudan minnesota (minnesota geological survey)






an aerial photo showing the drift of lava



geological ghcosts on the pages of a book on viruses



pouring tons of mineral matter into a lake



petrified scum on display



absence of oxygen



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