Hyperreality and Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Contemplating Arts and AI


Episode #111


Boris Eldagsen and Jason M. Allen, artists

October 2, 2023


In episode 111 of "Framing the Hammer", we chat with artists Boris Eldagsen and Jason M. Allen about their respective approaches to, uses of, and accolades in artificial intelligence and their artworks. We foster a conversation with opposing views and find that they are actually quite aligned in their views of art and artificial intelligence, not to mention Plato's Theory of Forms and Baudrillard's theory of simulacra.
Side by side presentation of two AI-generated illustrations: Eldagsen's "The Electrician" and Allen's "Téâtre d'Opéra Spacial". Electrician is a sepia-toned photo of two white middle-aged women, one behind the other with her hands on her shoulders. Téâtre is a fantasy illustration of three figures dressed in lush robes in a Renaiisance-like chamber, all wearing fantasy space hlemets and gazing out on a fantasy mountainous landscape.


Boris Eldagsen is a German “photomedia artist exploring the unconscious mind.” He was awarded Sony World Photography Award in 2022 for his work, The Electrician, part of his Pseudomnesia series. Boris wanted full acknowledgement by Sony that AI was used in his work. That request was not granted, so Boris refused the award because of his commitment to full transparency in this world of arts and AI.


Sepia tone photograph of two white women with brown hair. Woman in front looking off camera to her right, woman behind has her hands on the shoulders of the woman in front while seemingly resting her mouth on her back while her eyes gaze calmly down but in front of the woman in front.

"Pseudonmensia/The Electrician", Boris Eldagsen, 2022.

A 4A Arts quote icon, showing quotation marks

[AI-generated] artwork should not copy the human condition but should tell us about the AI condition.

– Boris Eldagsen


Jason M. Allen is a video game designer based in Pueblo, Colorado, and the founder of Incarnate Games, Inc. His piece,  Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, won first place in the Colorado State Fair digital arts competition.  

Fantasy illustration generated by artificial intelligence. Image of three humans with shiny, fantastical space helmets, in flowing Renaissance-like robes in red and white placed in a sumptuous, cavernous gathering chamber, looking out a large, circular window on an indistinct mountain with dwellings.

Téâtre d'Opéra Spatial, Jason M. Allen, 2022

At the beginning of our conversation about arts and AI, the two artists mentioned cultural inspirations from their childhoods. Jason mentioned being a true child of the 80’s as a fan of the animated cartoons like Transformers and Mask and of course Star Wars.

Boris was inspired by the album cover photography of Brian Griffin, particularly the cover for the Depeche Mode’s, Construction Time Again.  Inspired also by the Frankie Goes to Hollywood album, Welcome to the Pleasuredome, where Boris was first exposed to the ideas of Friedrich Nietschze by a reading of translation of Nietschze’s The Birth of Tragedy at the beginning of the song. 

In the final question, we ask what art (besides arts and AI) makes them happy. Jason mentions the TV show, Severance, and Boris mentions the movies of French filmmaker Quentin Dupieux, in particular the movie Reality

Cultural entities, people, and philosophies referenced throughout:

  • Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher, sociologist and poet, best known for works such as Simulation and Simulacra. Baudrillard is also known for developing the concept of “hyperreality”.  
  • Hyperreality is a concept in post-structuralism that refers to the process of the evolution of notions of reality, leading to a cultural state of confusion between signs and symbols invented to stand in for reality, and direct perceptions of consensus reality.
  • Promptography – a term promoted by Boris meaning using artificial intelligence “prompts” to generate art. 
  • MidJourney – the AI platform used to generate and manipulate images.
  • ChatGPT – the AI platform used to generate and manipulate writing.
  • Alex Gray, former Harvard Anatomy Department worker and artist who completely defies limitations and who espouses the power of art to bring personal catharsis and spiritual awakening. 
  • Boris refers to German psychologist Carl Gustav Jung’s theories of the “collective unconscious” when he says, “What I find fascinating in working with AI is that it ts a mirror of mankind. For me, it its what Carl Gustav Jung in his psychology 100 years ago called the “collective unconscious”. 
  • Plato’s theory of forms
    • Ideas according to this theory, conventionally capitalized and translated as “Ideas” or “Forms”, are the non-physical essences of all things, of which objects and matter in the physical world are merely imitations. (Wikipedia.)
  • Alan Watts – English writer, speaker, and “philosophical entertainer” who pondered why humans cease to be creative after childhood. (See video below.)
  • Boris references his participation in the international organization, Writing with Light, to create code of ethics in photojournalism to fight deep fakes and misleading manipulation:
"Writing with Light" website statement about the icon used to decipher between fact and fictional photography.
  • Writing with light, the original meaning of photography, is a movement by visual journalists and documentary photographers to clearly differentiate their photographs from other images that appear to be photorealistic but are highly manipulated or generated by artificial intelligence systems. The icon placed next to the photographer’s name in the credit, indicates to readers that the photographer upholds the Statement of Principles, striving for fair and accurate reporting of what they experience while acknowledging the subjectivity inherent in their work. – Writing with Light


You may also like:

“Democratizing Art” with Bianca Bosker

In this episode, Gavin chats with New York Times bestselling author of “Cork Dork,” Bianca Bosker, whose most recent book, “Get the Picture” is a deep dive into various aspects of the visual arts industry.

Growing Arizona’s Arts Advocacy Ecosystem

In episode 115 of Framing the Hammer, we speak with Arizona Citizens for the Arts Executive Director Patrick McWhortor and Director of Community Engagement, Sabrina Estrada.


In episode 114 of Framing the Hammer, we chat with Richard Deming, Yale Director of Creative Writing and author of the recently published, This Exquisite Loneliness: What Loners, Outcasts and the Understood Can Teach Us About Creativity.
Skip to content