LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAYS! Get ready to design light art for The Junction’s GLOWS celebration

ORIGINAL TUESDAY NIGHT REPORT: This year, the West Seattle Junction Association plans to expand its celebration of light during the holidays – and you’re invited to help design the biggest event of all.

Starting in mid-October, WSJA will accept community submissions of AI-powered art that would be projected, in light, onto the big blank side of Alaska House that faces Junction Plaza Park. This will be the centerpiece of the Glorious Lights Of West Seattle (GLOWS) celebration on Saturday, December 9th – the night that also will bring the Christmas tree lighting, the Night Market, another light-costume contest, even an arch of lights down a Junction alley. WSJA executive director Chris Mackay has been dreaming of this for a long time, and this year GLOWS will really get going. Watch for more details in October about exactly how to contribute … and even if you don’t want to submit a design, set your calendar for December 9th and plan to spend that night in The Junction!

ADDED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: We asked WSJA’s Mackay if she had any comment regarding the discussion this announcement has generated, particularly voicing concerns about AI replacing human artists who might otherwise been used. Here’s the response:

The AI Light Show steering committee would like to express how we (a bunch of creatives) feel about this incredible AI Light Show for the West Seattle Community and why we are doing it.

GLOWS – Glorious Lights of West Seattle – is designed to show how we all glow as individuals and maybe first-time artists. Using AI is not limiting our creativity but expanding it. A machine does not create art on its own. People are creating this art with their ideas and prompts. By using AI, everyone can be involved, even if they have never created a piece of art in their lives. This is about the novelty of the technology and the opportunity to put it in the hands of people who enjoy the idea of being part of a light festival.

What we are doing with this event is all done by humans working together to create something wonderful and full of light and joy for the entire community. From creating the idea, to editing the presentation, and working with the accompanying music; it’s all human. Join in the JOY!

29 Replies to "LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAYS! Get ready to design light art for The Junction's GLOWS celebration"

  • Kevin September 26, 2023 (11:31 pm)

    As a part of the design community in WS I find it disgusting that a neighborhood arts event would overlook the extremely-talented, locally-based, and civically-minded designers, writers and artists in our community to ask an algorithm to represent West Seattle. I guarantee you that there are many peninsular artists who can turn “non-creative” (read that as people who think they aren’t) folks’ talent at writing or “google searches” into great art. Let’s try to build a community with actual people please. 

  • Artist September 26, 2023 (11:44 pm)

    I was excited about this until I read “generated by AI.” How disappointing. It would be great to celebrate human creativity of the many local artists we have instead of using generative technology built from stolen data and art. What a waste.

  • Violetismyfriend September 27, 2023 (12:27 am)

    I don’t know how one “creates” art with AI nor do I want to. Happy with traditional media or even digital media. Why do we need yet another thing to learn that presumably profits the select few at the top of the capitalist tech pyramid? I thought this was about art and art is about self expression. 

  • David September 27, 2023 (6:19 am)

    AI generated art? Isn’t that the stolen works of history used without permission by computers? No thanks – I have TV to watch that night – something where the people who created the images are compensated for their work.

  • Alki September 27, 2023 (7:12 am)

    As an artist, this disgusts me. The fact that they are accepting AI art is vile, and they are taking a lot of opportunity away from local artists here, while using technology that functions by stealing other’s work. What a disappointment. “Get ready to design art”. wow.

  • Oh Seattle September 27, 2023 (7:25 am)

    Has to be done with AI?  Gross. Many of us are being force-fed AI at our jobs by overstimulated tech bros.  Et tu WS Junction Association?

  • MrsT September 27, 2023 (7:40 am)

    I don’t know what is going on at the Junction Association right now but you all are making some really questionable decisions lately. AI generated art to represent our community? Gross, and insulting to human artists.

    • Shanti September 27, 2023 (9:53 am)

      Agreed. Junction Association has been making some seriously questionable decisions lately. No longer feels like the smaller town I moved to.

  • WSPK September 27, 2023 (7:57 am)

    Put me down as another live human being who cannot see any benefit in using this as an opportunity to promote soulless, extractive technology when WS is endowed with so many creative individuals who would gladly contribute. This makes no sense and is totally unappealing!

  • Sarah September 27, 2023 (8:39 am)

    I read this several times last night and couldn’t make sense of it, but thought maybe I was just too tired… but it’s just as nonsensical this morning. Why is the WSJA asking for AI-generated art? What does that have to do with the West Seattle community? This is bizarre, bordering on offensive.

  • AG September 27, 2023 (8:40 am)

    AI generated art? They’re doing a display of AI generated art instead of promoting local artists? Gross.

  • Tom September 27, 2023 (9:01 am)

    Adding to the pile on – wildly out of touch with what I (and I assume my neighbors) want from a local event. Solely because of the AI element, would love to feature the painstakingly crafted work of our locals artists instead.I wonder what tech bro thought this was a cool idea, lol. 

  • bummed September 27, 2023 (9:23 am)

    Dang. I was super-excited about this until I realized it was AI generated. bummer.  maybe I will schneak over there and put up a canvas piece. lol

  • Alki resident September 27, 2023 (11:17 am)

    You’re not shoving AI down our throats. Hard pass, hit this in another community, not ours. 

  • Arty? September 27, 2023 (11:32 am)

    Why don’t all of you artists submit your art work?  
    Who is to say wether or not it is AI generated?
    Submit it all.
    Curate it.
    Project it.
    Less hate for the people proposing this small AI portion of the overall analog night of lights, including  lighted costumes, Christmas tree lighting, Night Market etc. 

    • Alki resident September 27, 2023 (1:46 pm)

      Small AI portions become ONLY AI portions. If we just nudge in a little at a time, you won’t notice. Get it?

  • AI September 27, 2023 (12:05 pm)

    Hi,Chill West Seattle!  A.I. is an artist. Real name Allen Indigo.  He will generate cool thing via suggestion.  -Computer(must read in robot voice)

  • LAintheJunction September 27, 2023 (1:01 pm)

    I had to read this three times before I was sure I understood that this was a call for AI-generated art, then had to come to the comments to double check. I’m gobsmacked. Seriously put off. I simply can’t understand why the WS Junction Association would think using AI art would be a good idea.

    Has anyone reached out to them to ask? I mean, I’m just a community member, not an artist, but I’m considering calling them myself to find out. Because this makes no sense whatsoever. 

  • RX September 27, 2023 (2:15 pm)

    Just adding an alternative voice from another local artist: go for it. While I personally don’t care much about AI, it’s embarrassing to see such collective fright and rejection. This technology is here and inevitable. I hope none of you local artists are using the once-newfangled photoshop, which lowered the ivory walls surrounding editing and made tools available to common people. Surely, too, those pearl clutching comments were submitted by raven, having been penned with a feather in the flicker of candle light, right? After all, the paper mill worked hard to grind the pulp into sheets, those birds don’t raise themselves, and pouring candles is a full time job. What a shame to steal from those hard workers by sending one of those lecherous “emails”. What a scared and silly bunch.

    • Sarah September 27, 2023 (2:29 pm)

      It’s reasonable to ask what the reason is for this restriction, though. It would be one thing to ask for art of a certain medium or theme, but to put out a call AI-generated art with no apparent “why” is… odd, at minimum.

    • Info September 27, 2023 (2:38 pm)

      All those examples fall apart when compared to AI because they are tools to generate something new. AI is only as powerful as the previously created art it was trained on. There have been some fantastic uses of AI as a tool (e.g. Corridor feeding an AI their own art to be based off of), but the majority of the public offerings rely on digesting and regurgitating from artists that have not consented to their work being trained on. Do you champion surveillance technology because it here and inevitable? Sure, label people pearl clutches, but I’d rather throw my lot in with them than passive folks like yourself that shrug their shoulders and let life happen to them. It’s telling that you’re argument is based solely on hyperbole and moving the goalposts a nautical mile rather than actually arguing the merits and concerns brought up by others.

      • RX September 27, 2023 (4:33 pm)

        “Digesting and regurgitating” is precisely what artists do. Including the greats, and including the ones who pushed the bar forward. I don’t recall a training consent form signed by Rembrandt when I was in art school. When they sent us to the museum with the express goal of copying the greats, we were literally there to train the neural network rattling around our skulls (though it wasn’t mainstream to call it that yet). The line of thinking you describe boils down to “how dare that thing learn to draw like the others it saw”. It’s elitist, unenforceable, and completely at odds with the way art is and has always been made. including by humans.

        • Info September 27, 2023 (8:16 pm)

          calling it elitist to be against uses of AI to make art is laughable. all the models available rn are owned by billion dollar organizations. are all the striking writers and actors elitist for wanting protection against AI use in their fields? but that’s besides the point. tell me, which AI should people use that’s “accessible to the masses”? they’re either pay-walled, so not accessible and means those with the money to shell out are given an advantage with features and compute time. or they’re watermarked, so free advertising for giant companies that are unethically enriching themselves. oh, there are free websites, but they’re riddled with ads, trackers, and fake download buttons, so this can potentially putting people’s computers at risk. AI in it’s current state is not a free lunch and has yet to be democratized. when we get there, sure, I’ll concede it’s just a tool for art, but until then there are blatant ethical issues with promoting AI.

  • Alki resident September 27, 2023 (2:37 pm)

    RX could you be more insulting? The only thing that’s blocking AI is man. Are you willing to lose your jobs and livelihood over AI replacement? We’re not. Better look up what kinds of changes will happen if we get AI incorporated into everyone’s lives. 

  • WSB September 27, 2023 (3:30 pm)

    We asked WSJA for comment on some of the concerns raised in this discusion. We’ve added the response above.

  • Ferns September 27, 2023 (11:44 pm)

    I’d like to know if anyone in WSJA who planned or approved this AI only entries art installation has disclosures or conflicts of interest to declare. Do they personally work for or are shareholders of companies that profit from increased AI adoption by the public? Will they enrich themselves indirectly by advertising AI and convincing the masses to use it this way? This stunt seems better suited to Bellevue than WS. Or a tech fair. First time art creators don’t need AI to feel successful and express themselves as the group seems to imply. We already spend too much time at screens. Why can’t original, unsampled art be submitted? Why bother gathering submissions at all when you can click a few buttons yourself. I don’t like it. Feels tone deaf. Corporate. Start-upy. Contrived. 

  • Jay September 28, 2023 (11:16 am)

    I’m no technology luddite, I’ve built and trained generative natural language AI models myself. I know how GANs for language and images work at the lowest level. But this application of the technology is awful and I’m extremely disappointed that the Junction Association is putting on a festival like this. It’s disrespectful to the community. Tech bros can take over the art scene in Bellevue or San Francisco, but it’s not appropriate here. Also, fun fact: machine generated images are ineligible for a copyright protections. This is established case law. You could copy and paste someone else’s submission for this event and present it as your own with no legal or ethical issues.

  • J September 28, 2023 (8:42 pm)

    Google searching or typing in a prompt does not mean you are an emerging artist. It is not promoting any sort of creativity at all and that Wednesday response as such a spit in the face to all that work in the arts. Am I now a photographer because I took a picture off of Pinterest and submitted it under my own name? No. I didn’t create anything. Entering a prompt in a search bar doesn’t make you an artist. What a joke!

  • tom September 29, 2023 (5:29 am)

    singularity singularity singularity

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