An Australian Photo Festival Has Inaugurated an A.I. Art Award, Recognizing ‘Prompt-ography’ as a Bona Fide Medium

Rather than reject images created with artificial intelligence, this competition created a separate category for them.

Annika Nordenskiöld, Twin Sisters in Love, 2023

Two sisters, gleefully smiling, sit side-by-side, holding a slippery octopus in their arms. Rendered in warm sepia tones and set against an out-of-focus background, this photo, titled Twin Sisters In Love, just won a prize for Swedish artist Annika Nordenskiöld at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in Australia.

But—surprise!—the picture is not real.

The image was generated by feeding prompts to artificial intelligence and won the Biennale’s first-ever A.I. award, which includes a $2,000 prize.The organizers have creatively dubbed the prize “Prompted Peculiar.”

“I understand the fear of A.I. and find it somewhat healthy,” Nordenskiöld said when accepting the prize on Sunday. “But I see it more like a colleague I am working with.”

“None of these places, people or creatures exist in the physical realm,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Many people say my pictures make them uncomfortable … When I explain that A.I. creates them as a kind of collage… many laugh, others are distressed and find them disgusting.”

Nordenskiöld is at something of a vanguard in the A.I.-art overlap, having recently opened a gallery show in Stockholm titled “We Don’t Exist.” She is also set to publish her third book of “photos” created using A.I.

According to the Morning Herald, this prize category is to help artists engage with A.I.’s ever-growing role in all aspects of our lives. For their part, they are calling A.I. work “promptography” to separate it from the traditional medium.

“A photographer goes out into the world and shoots what they see by chance in a certain place, but nowadays, a ‘promptographer’ can stay in a darkened room and create a computer-generated image,” said Boris Eldagsen, a German photographer who was a judge on the Ballarat panel. “Seeing is no longer believing it is real.”

Eldagsen has his own place in the debate over to A.I. photography/promptography: he turned down a first prize in protest at the Sony World Photography Awards because his submission, The Electrician, was actually made with A.I.

During public discussions about the prize, Eldagsen, along with the other jurors (Una Rey, editor of Artlink magazine and Ballarat International Foto Biennale CEO Vanessa Gerrans), called for an international roundtable conversation on photography. To distinguish between photography and promptography, Eldagsen called for a code of ethics and perhaps a watermark to distinguish between the two forms.


More Trending Stories:  

An Elderly Couple Sold a ‘Worthless’ African Mask for $157. Now They Are Suing the Buyer Who Auctioned It for $4.4 Million 

A Norwegian Man Stumbled Upon a Trove of Gold Dating to the Early Middle Ages, Including a Rare Pendant Depicting the Norse God Odin 

A Top Antiquities Sleuth Has Called Out the Manhattan D.A. For Continually Passing His Work Off As Its Own 

Emerging Artist Li Hei Di Calls Her London Studio a ‘Parallel Universe,’ Where Hong Kong’s Cinematic Heroines and Mystical Abstraction Meet 

After Its Team-Up With Pokémon, Scalpers Swarm the Van Gogh Museum to Snap Up Merch and ‘Pick the Gift Shop Clean’ 

An Enigmatic Still-Life Picasso, Made During His Now-Celebrated ‘Wonder Year’ of 1932, Will Hit the Auction Block This Fall 

Get a Closer Look at Lagos-Based Artist Nengi Omuku’s Intricate Textile Paintings—Made on Traditional Nigerian Cloth 

A Mexican Journalist Went Viral After He Presented ‘Alien Bodies’ to Congress. Now He Is Accused of Plundering Them From Ancient Sites 

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics