Automatiste is a browser-based and AR/XR experiential work which showcased, Chinese luxury fashion house, Mithridate's AW21 collection at London Fashion Week. The title is derived from the French adjective that describes the Surrealist Automatism method for creating art in which you don’t consciously choose what you are doing; instead you create without thought to see what arises from your deepest self. The experimental website hosts a journey of free association through the protagonist's subconscious innerworkings, dreams, memories and non-memories. The audience-participant encounters a generative non-linear narrative that weaves live action footage, 3D worlds, machine learning interpretations of the collection, performance art, portals to an immersive 360 lookbook, real-time poetry, sound, discoverable QR codes and smartphone AR/XR filters for further immersion.
Automatic processes and chance operations were utilized in the creation of the work—largely by building systems of trust with the machine and relying on it as an active collaborator. What looks like abstract moving and still paintings are GANs which are created by inputting collection images into machine learning models. AR/XR filters are discoverable by rotating 3d objects. One filter transports the guest into the protagonist’s 360 darkroom, another allows one to wear the GAN lookbook iteration on their face. Live action footage rendered through the AR/XR filters created unexpected footage results, 360 CGI immersive environments allow guests to freely navigate distant worlds. 3D/2D scenes were carefully architected, sometimes mixed with live action footage. It's ambiguous whether the imagery is created by a computer, humans, or both.
The spirit of automatic art extends to the interactive design as there are innumerable video and real-time subtitle pairings and sequences. Game theory is applied to aspects of the experience (tokens, portals, limited time in certain spaces). Subject to the machine’s subconscious—the memories unfold differently every time; you can never experience Automatiste the same way twice. Also, like life, there is no Back button.
Automatiste was featured in BBC Click, FAD Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar UK, Electronic Beats, Twin Magazine and the Contemporary and Digital Art Fair
"Automatiste" by @aniacatherine @dejhatiAutomatiste
Fashion: @mithridate.official represented by @cp_conceptArtist Representation of Ania Catherine & Dejha Ti: @mtartagency
2D Art Designer: @patcova
3D Art Direction & Design: @curry_tian
3D Art Design & Animation: @liuxinstudio
AI Art: @jameskadine Lucy Wheeler and @rovaifabioartworks at @immersivekind
XR Art: @exitsimulationCreative Production: @ngsuzieq In Good Company
Music and Sound design: @tonycruise_
Web Development and Interaction Design: @minus99ds
Director of Photography: @taraviolet
Film Edit Creative Direction & Editor: @merlin_ettore
1st AC: @paulacrichtonColorist: @coloristroy
Assistant Editor: Polina Mirovskaya
Art Department: @zeitweitz
Model Agency: @photogenicsla
Styled by: @ChanelVerdult
Hair and Make-up by: Nichole Servin
Special thanks: @benoonbenoon @lisearlot ‘s voice @nils_hh @eshiaanne#automatiste #mithridateaw21 #aniacatherine #dejhati #mtartagency
In art, automatism refers to creating art without conscious thought, accessing material from the unconscious mind as part of the creative process.
Mithridate designer Demon Zhang describes the misunderstanding creators and innovators who push both their personal limits as well as the limits of society, and the strength found in their refusal to be defined by the world. These individuals are committed to defining themselves by a relentless and brave pursuit into their innermost beings, thoughts, desires, impulses. They trust what lies within them, not looking outside for answers but trusting their inner flame.
The protagonist of Automatiste is one such individual. We enter her world which is a nonsensical journey through the ins and outs of her mind, dreams, thought processes, and memories. This feeling-evoking and intimate work confronts barriers that we usually keep up for protection, resulting in a beautiful, haunting, surreal, disjointed, serene, confusing, calming, conflicting experience. In a time when external travel is not allowed, we musn’t underestimate the power of inner travel. What lies in our imaginations? What is possible if we dig a bit deeper below the surface? What truths can we uncover? Dig up? Dust off and stare at? Confront? There is an intensity when we live in this way, create in this way, in the absence of safety, but also in rich moments where what seemed impossible minutes ago is then staring you in the face.
The surrealists believed that we could reveal our truths in our unconscious minds, and learn about our true selves through automatic art, which is a method of making art where you don’t consciously choose what you are doing or make decisions, but instead you create while not thinking to see what comes out of your deepest inner being. Hence the name of this work, Automatiste.