A YEDM favorite by now or his endlessly interesting experimental arrangements and chaotic diversity both in his musical compositions and his multimedia videos, Chris Ianuzzi is now diving head-first into an area many artists are just starting to poke around: AI art and videos. Since his acclaimed Maze LP was dropped single by single ending in April of this year, Ianizzu hinted he would be doing a similar progression with videos, and he’s officially into that project with the release on November 4th with “Lonesome Highway Superstar,” the second video from the Maze mega-album.
The single “March of Madness,” released as a special video that was the culmination of Maze, was actually the first video on which Ianuzzi and his team utilized AI technology, both in the animation and the morphing of the faces. “Lonesome Highway Superstar” is the first, however, that is almost entirely A.I.-created. Made in collaboration with the same graphic artists who worked on “March of Madness,” İlke Köse and Ethem Serkan Sökmen, this video utilized both Disco Diffusion and Stable Diffusion AI image generation. Between the two methods, the team created a video that feels both surreal and hyperreal, with trippy, abstrac forms morphing into photorealistic characters and vice versa.
The inspiration for this, according to Ianuzzi, was a sort of space-themed version of The Road Warrior.
My initial idea for a video was a ‘Road Warrior’-type video with a beat up car on a desert highway. After I thought about this and saw what Serkan andİlke did with AI in making the video “for March of Madness,” I thought it was time to search for something different. I thought, let’s put the character in space and make the journey Cosmic. I shared my thoughts with them and off they went.
The video seems to capture the sense of lonliness paired with wonder Ianuzzi was trying to connote in the track as well, with the more formless visuals being beautiful and awe-inspiring but ultimately cold and sterile, especially once the POV shifts to the human forms. Dressed in space suits and still created by AI as they are, the humanness of their motions and play on the “desert highway in space” is a stark contrast to all the viewer has seen thus far. Despite these images not being nearly as impressive as the highly styled “space” images, there’s more of a connection to them than anything else in the video, and it seems far too short a clip.
The video ends with a question, as a warped photorealistic spaceship tries to build and rebuild istelf over and over within this hyperreal but clearly not real space: will we ever be able to fully coexist with AI, or, for that matter, any other forms of intelligence, whether terrestrial or extra? It remains to be seen at this point, but the answer may not be too far off as the technolog continues to grow. In the meantime Ianuzzi sees it all as the same question: when we constantly reach out for more, whether it be AI, space, or even just looking for companionship on a desert higway, are we just serving to more fully isolate ourselves? That’s a more eternal question, and it seems the “Lonesome Highway Superstar” doesn’t have the answer quite yet.
Visit Chris Ianuzzi’s YouTube channel to see “March of Madness” and other videos. Maze and the rest of his discography are streamable on Spotify.