How it was made
The piece was created using an AI technique known as neural style transfer (Gatys et al. 2015) where a ‘source’ image has a ‘style’ applied to it. Here, I used a photograph of my eye post-Lasic (hence the blood just to the left of the iris) and applied a blue crystalline style to get the sharp edges.
Behind the name
The piece “Soul Beauty” is a portmanteau of the phrases “eyes are the window to the soul” and “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. What is conveyed by this AI-crystallised photo focusing on an imperfect eye is that vision can take the reflective property of crystals: while we use eyes to see others, they also allow others to see us. This allows us to both see others’ beauty and reveal our own. However, there will always be imperfections both in the source and the target; the eye here is bloodshot after an operation and crystals always have cracks. Highlighting these imperfections do not detract from the beauty, but rather enhance it.
This image was submitted to Zindi as part of their first AI art hackathon and showcased at the AI Expo Africa in Cape Town on 3-4th Sept 2019.