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Generative art collaboration
Thank you for being here. I love sharing the collaborations I do with other generative artists with you. The way they approach their art and the ideas they come up with for images inspire me daily. Bob, my collaborator on Semiotic is an artist whose work I truly love. He’s another of the artists Chippy connected me to, and I’m so grateful for that.
As usual, we used Chippy’s 444 collaboration format. If you’re not familiar with this format, you can read about it in the first collaboration post I did with Mixed AI Art. As always, I wrote the story to go with the images.
Bob is on Instagram as AI Art Bob. You can see more of his work (I highly recommend it) by following the link below.
Bob and I tinkered with the prompts for this collaboration. As you can see, I’ve added a C. to the first image below. Instead of just using the sixteen words we originally came up with, we decided to add some other directions. We didn’t both use all of the same terms, though I’ve included them in a single grouping. I really think they enhanced the images we came up with.
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Some of the words Bob provided gave me pause as I sat down to write this story. Was I going to be able to weave them into a fictional piece? The answer, it turns out, is yes. I did manage to use all of the words to create this story, and even used semiotic in the title as well.
Raj would have called the pyramid semiotic or some other damned fool thing. He was into that kind of stuff—or had been, until he’d been sent back Earth side. Bailey didn’t know what Raj thought any more. But he sure had believed in signs.
The last sign Raj and he had come across had taken off his right arm with a gamma-ray blast that had nearly killed them both. Bailey hoped the docs back home could grow him another one.
The other things Raj was into were schemes and figurativism. Bailey wasn’t even sure if that last one was a real word. Raj was full of big words like that, though. Big words, big promises, big dreams. That was Raj all over. He always had a scheme on the go, sure he was going to hit it big and get back to Earth, away from the empty alien landscapes the company was always sending them out to survey.
Only the last few landscapes hadn’t been so empty. The one Bailey’s team was exploring now seemed to have some kind of a defense tower. Well, more of a defense pyramid.
Raj would have tried to break in and see what he might be able to take back home to sell to some gullible collector. Raj always had a scheme on the go. He had a blithe disregard for the rules other people followed, believing himself to be somehow immune to orders. Bailey snorted. Brilliant guy, he thought, hunkering down with his team to watch the pyramid. Look where it got him.
If the pyramid was half as effective as the thing that had taken off Raj’s arm, they would have to take extra care in approaching it. It seemed crazy to have found signs of aliens on two worlds in a row after believing humans to be alone in the universe for millennia. But maybe it wasn’t so strange. Maybe they’d just hit an occupied patch of the galaxy and these findings were related.
In any event, it was all above his pay grade. He was just a grunt with no aspirations of hitting it rich. He opened his canteen and took a swig of water, wishing it was whiskey. Maybe when they got back to the ship, he’d ask for a ration.
A crack appeared in the pyramid, and a bright light shone out as it widened into an opening a fighter jet could sail through. Bailey’s mouth opened, water dribbling out and down his jumpsuit. He didn’t notice.
He fumbled for his disruptor, thought about running, then just stood and stared as platforms filled with thousands of strange looking objects floated out and onto what passed for grass on this planet. An odd looking humanoid with purple skin that seemed to match the pattern of the pyramid followed behind. An odd-looking chair floated beside it. When it set down on the ground, the alien lowered itself into it and sat expectantly.
The faint noise of engines caught Bailey’s attention. He looked up to see hundreds of small ships flying in from all directions. Where had they come from? Initial scans of the planet hadn’t suggested any advanced life existed here.
Despite the reality that the survey team might be well and truly screwed, Bailey couldn’t find it within himself to be scared. He wasn’t resigned either. Just curious. As the ships began to land, disgorging occupants that looked like they might be from nearly as many different worlds as there were ships, he realized what he was seeing.
This was a marketplace. A surreal marketplace. The aliens had come to shop. They began bartering with the shopkeeper, many gesturing, possibly because they didn’t share the same language. Bailey stared at them, incredulous.
Semiotic. It was a sign. The things the alien was accepting in exchange for what appeared to be truly exotic goods seemed mundane. Well, Bailey had lots of mundane stuff in his pack. Maybe he could pick up some things that would be worth a fortune at home. Pushing past his teammates, he headed for the market. Raj would be proud.
This story seemed like a huge challenge in the beginning, but as I got into it, the words just flowed. It’s quirky and fun. You can see ten of the images that Bob and I created together on Instagram. Bob’s are the odd numbered ones and mine are the even. While you’re there, make sure to check out Bob’s other artwork.
On June 11th I’ll share the collaboration I did with Surgalxy, another of my favorite Instagram artists. I can’t wait for you to read it.
Don’t forget to comment!