“I was always hoping for something gorgeous, or hopeful. But it was terrifying, and ultimately ominous,” says Santa Fe-based artist Erin Mickelson. The artist, interested in the labyrinthine meanings and Derridaean readings of language and symbols, embarked in early 2020 on a research-intensive journey into artificial intelligence, data-mining and how the artist’s hand—and the viewer’s participation—might battle the Western biases of our online world.
“At first this show was about perception and the dissonance experienced when our expectations are not met. That was the foundation,” says Erin Mickelson. But as the unprecedented events of 2020 unfolded, the artist began to investigate online prediction algorithms, machine learning, language processing and the underlying biases of these systems. “I worked at the beta level with Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), the largest language model to date using machine learning. It’s very revealing how enmeshed the biases of the Western world are within its computations, which is dangerous.”
Erin Mickelson’s work includes printmaking, bookbinding, new and mixed media, artist books, and micro-press publishing. Mickelson’s imprint is Broken Cloud Press. She earned her BFA with a concentration in book arts at Oregon College of Art & Craft, and holds a degree in graphic design as well. Erin includes both traditional techniques as well as digital and experimental processes in her work, which is held in various private and public collections including the libraries of Seattle Art Museum, Yale University, Reed College, Baylor University, and Minneapolis College of Art & Design.