The art-as-research described in this article—a project named The Drowned World, after J.G. Ballard’s dystopian novel of the same name—is a reflection on environmental collapse and its technical representation in the Anthropocene. Is imagination being subsumed by the artificial? Are the sociotechnic hyperobjects of artificial intelligence and global warming chimera of the imagination, or are they certainties emergent from a desire for virtuality? In The Drowned World project, the author proposes to employ text-driven image synthesis as an aesthetic apparatus obscuring the distinction between imagination (potentiality) and virtuality (artificiality) to offer a computational poetics of a world drowning in data, an imaginative ecology of the virtual sublime.

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