None Of The Girls In These Vintage Polaroids Exist—An AI Made Them Up

AI-generated photos of Black goth girls created with Midjourney have captivated viewers across social media with both the alluring scenes they depict and their striking realness. In recent years, imaging software bolstered by machine learning have grown uncanny in their ability to produce detailed works based on simple text prompts. With enough coaxing, models like Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DALL-E 2 can generate pieces indistinguishable from what a human artist might create.

All it takes to get started is a concept. Text-to-image generators are trained on massive, detailed image datasets, giving them the contextual basis to create from scratch. Instruct any one of today’s popular AI image models to whip up an imaginary scene and, if all goes well, it’ll do just that. By referencing specific styles in the prompt, like a historical art movement or a particular format of photography, the models can be guided toward more refined results. They’re not perfect, though — as casual users hopping on the AI-image meme trend have found, they have a tendency to miss the mark, often hilariously.

That makes it all the more effective when the AI does get it right. Former MMA fighter and artist Fallon Fox’s AI-generated photos, which have gone viral since she posted them on Twitter and Facebook on Nov. 13, at first glance seem a look into the not-so-distant past. Black girls decked in leather and heavy eyeliner smolder in nearly two dozen snapshots from metal shows in the ‘90s. Except, these concerts never existed and neither did these girls. Midjourney conjured them up.

Fox told Screen Rant she was just trying to “show a representation of people like [herself],” a Black woman, in the metal scene through the AI experiment. She had no idea it would take off the way it did. “I put a lot of references to ‘90s-era Black goths in there,” Fox told Screen Rant regarding the AI art creation process. “I also put the scenery in there, which was of course a heavy metal concert, and I told it to use a specific type of film, which was ‘90s Polaroid. And a lot of other tweaks, too.”

It’s easy, at first, to miss the telltale signs of AI-made images in this photoset, though they eventually become glaring. Hands, in particular, have proven difficult for AI models to render, and many of the characters in the series suffer bizarre failings in this area (which Fox and social media users have been quick to point out): rubbery fingers that fuse with other objects, a multitude of tangled extra digits, out-of-place fingernails.

There are other telling details, too, like eyes that are just off and features that seem to be pasted haphazardly on. In one image, a bystander appears to have the entire lower half of his body on backward. Overwhelmingly, though, the people and places in the photos look real.

Source: Screenrant

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Voice Of Baceprot Are The Metal Band The World Needs Right Now – An All-Female Muslim Metal Band Based Out Of Rural Conservative Indonesia

In 2014, in a classroom in rural Indonesia, three schoolgirls fell in love with metal. During an extra-curricular arts programme at their school in Garut, West Java, Firdda Marsya Kurnia (vocals and guitar), Widi Rahmawati (bass), and Euis Siti Aisyah (drums), then aged 14, were introduced to metal by their school guidance counsellor, Ahba Erza.

Immediately, the teenagers were drawn to the “unique and beautiful” lyricism of System Of A Down, and “rebellious” spirit of bands such as Rage Against The MachineLamb Of God and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Before long, they had formed Voice Of Baceprot, (the word ‘Baceprot’ means ‘loud’ in Sundanese) and were making their own incendiary racket. Their 2018 single, School Revolution, is a fiery blend of elastic bass and furious RATM-indebted thrash.

Emerging as an all-female, Muslim metal band in a conservative community in West Java has posed its own challenges however. The girls have received death threats, while Ahba, who is now their manager, has received calls pressuring him to break up the band. The trio spoke to Metal Hammer about overcoming these challenges and demolishing cultural and gender norms.

Marsya [lead guitar / vocals]: “Every year the metal scene in Indonesia keeps on developing and growing. There’s a bunch of bands all genders and ages, a lot of Indonesians are familiar with metal music and there are a lot of local metal bands in Indonesia.

Euis [drummer]: “There are women that play rock and metal. It’s there, the amount is relative, but there are more and more women playing in Indonesia.”

Can you remember your first gig?

“The first performance was a school event, a farewell concert and it was the first time our parents saw us perform. They school we went to was a pretty religious Islamic school, when we performed, everyone was pretty shocked.”

Shocked in what sense?

Marsya: “[Our parents] didn’t explicitly show their support or forbid us from playing music. Deep down, we knew that they were actually proud of us. Perhaps a little bit worried. They did prohibit us from playing music after [our first show], but we carried on regardless and didn’t think too much of it. [The band practised in secret for a year after their first gig following reservations from their parents.] We never thought about packing it in or taking a step back. As time went by, we realised that the lack of support from our parents and community played a huge role in fortifying our mental strength, and the resolve that we have in proving that our music does not negatively affect our morals.”

You have faced challenges in your own country, and even death threats for playing metal. How did you deal with that?

“They were just comments made on social media. We were a bit scared at first, but we just put our heads down and focused back on our music. As the cliché goes, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. We get a lot of curse words and people saying you should stop playing. They want us to stop playing music. For the most part, people are saying that stuff because we’re women, but we’re not scared to say what’s on our mind. A lot of people don’t like that. If we were men maybe we wouldn’t get such a hard time. Music gives us such a great joy that’s why we want to continue to play. So we are focusing on our music and screw the others!”

What is your single School Revolution about?

“When students start to feel lost and so far detached from their hopes and dreams for the sake of following rigid school rules, we believe that it is simply another form of subjection. This is based on our own experience; from what we felt, the discussions that we had with Abah, and what we’ve read from many books. School was a big part of our lives at that time. It was the place where most teenagers spend their adolescence. Schools should be a just and fair space that is able to accommodate the hopes and dreams of its students.”

What are other themes and messages in your music?

Widi [bassist]: “The main message is about freedom. Independence as a woman, as a human being, and we write a lot about human values and humanity as well. What we’re trying to do is continue traditions, speak our mind and share our music with other people.”

Source: Metal Hammer AKA Louder Sound

The Hypocrisy Of The MF DOOM Fan

MF DOOM deserves a college course dedicated to him. He feels like a puzzle, trapped in an enigma, bear-hugged by metaphor. Since the 1999 release of what can be considered his solo debut album, Operation Doomsday, MF DOOM has lived in a self-created mystical world on the opposite side of the universe from contemporary Hip Hop. He’s impossible to pigeonhole and incredibly tough to describe, because he assumes different characters constantly. His music is the best kind of bar-heavy, astoundingly vivid. Almost always unconventional song structure. Few hooks allowed. Let’s break it down…

MF DOOM, Renowned Masked And Masterful Rap Artist, Dead At 49

MF Doom, the cerebral and willfully mysterious rapper and producer beloved by hip-hop connoisseurs for the complex rhymes he delivered from behind a metallic mask, has died. He was 49.

His death was announced Thursday in an Instagram post signed by his wife, Jasmine, who said that Doom had “transitioned” on Oct. 31. A spokesman for Rhymesayers, a label for which Doom recorded, confirmed his death. No cause was given.

Known for close collaborations with producers such as Madlib and Danger Mouse — and for his use of a variety of alter egos including King Geedorah and Viktor Vaughn — Doom, born Daniel Dumile, cut a proudly idiosyncratic path through rap music in the 1990s and 2000s, burrowing deep into a self-made comic book-style mythology even as hip-hop reached increasingly commercial heights in the pop mainstream.

His music was dense but funky, gloomy yet streaked with an off-kilter sense of humor; his records helped clear a path for younger hip-hop eccentrics like Playboi Carti and Tyler, the Creator.

“My soul is crushed,” Flying Lotus tweeted Thursday, before adding that 2004’s “Madvillainy” album was “all u ever needed in hip hop.” On Instagram, El-P of Run the Jewels thanked Doom “for keeping it weird and raw always.”

Of his decision to perform in a mask, Dumile, who was born in London and grew up on Long Island, told the New Yorker in 2009, “I wanted to get onstage and orate, without people thinking about the normal things people think about. Like girls being like, ‘Oh, he’s sexy,’ or ‘I don’t want him, he’s ugly,’ and then other dudes sizing you up. A visual always brings a first impression. But if there’s going to be a first impression I might as well use it to control the story. So why not do something like throw a mask on?”

Source: LA Times