Beth Coleman: Reality Was Whatever Happened
Octavia Butler AI and Other Possible Worlds
Octavia Butler’s ‘Xenogenesis’ trilogy is a compelling meditation on the existential human fear of depending on other species to survive; Beth Coleman’s ‘Reality Was Whatever Happened: Octavia Butler AI and Other Possible Worlds’ relays questions of kinship, community, survival, and transformation through generative processes of image production, serialization, and fabrication. Operating as an interspecies vehicle with which OBAI prompts us to reconsider race, cognition, and computability, ‘Reality Was Whatever Happened’ attends to the wild edges of computational culture and politics. Contributors engage with questions of black computing, indigenous AI, relational temporalities, and the hummmm of digital repetition, while Coleman’s conversation about the process and reality of contemporary AI-driven artistic practice frames the broader ethical and aesthetic stakes of OBAI. To see beyond the current hype of AI and explore the radical potential for (de)generative reconfigurations of images, bodies, and worlds, Coleman invites readers to become complicit in and through OBAI’s project of promiscuous liberation and provocative drift.