Kaushik Varma is a researcher and a visual artist working in the interweaving of Art, Science and Philosophy. Central to his creative process and research methodology is a blurring of the boundaries between these three domains to foster an interfusing of ideas within these distinct bodies of knowledge.
“Over the course of my career, these disciplines enveloped each other in my works, each surrounding the other, like a series of concentric circles, reflecting and rivaling one another: my work in Computer Science relying on Philosophy for the creation of concepts; my art relying on Computer Science for facilitating a medium of expression and for creating a body of knowledge that I can reflect on; and my philosophical investigations further relying on Art for facilitating a network of signs that pointed me to discoverable concepts upon engagement. Inducing an exchange of ideas between these seemingly disparate viewpoints could allow one access to new perspectives and facilitate the conception of alternate ontological frameworks to better answer the questions that matter to us. Such a facilitation is the primary objective of my research and the same is reflected in my works of art.”
Kaushik graduated with an interdisciplinary degree in Computer Science and Visual Arts from Ashoka University in 2018 where he continued to teach a course on dynamic visual media. He is currently an artist-in-residence at the ArtScienceBLR Laboratory at Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology. He is currently working on an exploration into cybernetic phenomenology that involves a series of investigations into the nature of experience as experienced by the machine.
NUDE IN DISGUISE:
The portrayal of the nude in accordance to an artistic vision always entailed a submission of the body to the viewer's demands. Intrinsic to such a portrayal is the judgement, more often than not, of a woman as an object of vision, a sight
A generative neural network, in accommodating the features of the body into its distribution, separates the individualist spirit from the subject while retaining the essence of the body itself.
Such a distribution instills a structural change within the nude and calls for the conception of an alternate way of portraying bodies (or alternate ways of viewing them): while the conventionalized nude entailed the surface of one’s own skin turned into a disguise (as a form of a dress), the AI-generated nude portrays (and isolates) the disguise itself that never belonged to a subject; a body that is free from the individual.
Priming a machine to estimate the human form has its complications. For instance, how does one impose a generalization on the form’s diversity in attire and appearance?
Things are easier when you strip the body naked, for the apparent diversity seems to emerge only from the body’s desire to present itself distinct; valuing its difference in appearance to the other.
Bring the body to its bare and the complexity is bound to fall.
Yet even in its stark naked form, the body does not reveal its being. Perhaps one can only view its phenomenon in time, traversing between its closest estimations that we ‘can’ capture. “..for the essence is not in the object; it is the meaning of the object, the principle of the series of appearances which disclose it” – Sartre, Being and Nothingness