Reality Or Dreams – You Decide?

City Google Deep Dream
Google Deep Dream City

Waking up, on a Saturday morning, at the height of summer is, quite frankly as exhilarating as it gets! Somehow, the world feels and smells better, particularly if the bedroom window is open – Fresh privets, pure oxygen – Karl Marx said “Religion was the opium of the masses” – He was wrong – ‘Privets are the opium of the masses’.

In our house, apart from savouring the ambience of the summer, there is fresh, French heavy roast coffee. Coffee in our house is a ritual and has been for 40 years. I did not invent the ritual. My Spanish grandfather introduced me to this magic elixir in July 1961, when he decided I was old enough to catch the 18 bus from West Derby into Coopers in Liverpool to collect his freshly roasted French Continental Coffee Beans. My job was to grind these nuggets of life at home into fine granules which would create the magical, black gold we know as COFFEE.

My wife is a connoisseur on coffee which keeps me on my toes. Her morning coffee has to be strong but not too strong, rich but not too bitter, fresh without an after taste. I do not want to sound my own trumpet but having created fresh coffee over 55 years, I feel quite competent, if not 100% confident of delivering an acceptable cup of coffee. Unfortunately both my Spanish grandfather and Spanish mother demanded coffee you could stand a spoon in and my wife has a more sophisticated palette. That is the joy of creating a cup of coffee – perfection in a cup – do it once and you have an insatiable desire to repeat the process – The process is not a million miles from the way Van Gogh worked or indeed the Beatles.

Edison said that ‘Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration’. in 1960 when I read this quotation I would have agreed but not any more. The average computer in IQ terms is  a genius. The exciting thing from the 99% of us who are not a genius’, is that we have the opportunity, via a computer, to create a work of genius – We may only do it once,  it may be fleeting, it may not even be noticed, let alone, acknowledged but what the heck – who cares. George Harrison, my fellow Liverpudlian and hero was lucky to have several moments of pure genius – the opening riff to ‘And I Love Her’, The incredible riff to ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and the ethereal Sitar to ‘Norwegian Wood’.

For most of us, we have to rely on other factors. In the case of us mere mortals and students of images, I think Google Deep Dreams is a light bulb moment, a computerised version of ‘Gay Abandonment’. Jackson Pollock struggled for years to articulate his genius until he began to drip the paint. The sheer freedom of allowing gravity to assist his creativity was a genuine light bulb moment.

Google Deep Dream offers the gravity, offers the gay abandonment, provides the opportunity, for the photographer, artist, designer, to present his image, file, artwork, etc, click on the dream button and say ‘Do What You will”. The interesting thing is that you can interject at any time and terminate the process – FASCINATING.

I took a bland aerial image of urban sprawl and asked Google Deep Dreams to create a dream interpretation. I like it – but then, I love interpretation in all forms of art. The results can be seen above. The image on the left is before, Google’s Deep Dream interpretation is on the right.

Have a great weekend – My name is Steve Howard – You have been reading the Digital Circus.


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