Studio Update Six
May 25, 2024 1:11 AM
Chris Adler
May 25, 2024 1:11 AM

Arvid Tappert

Arvid has officially released his Civitai AiR residency project into the wild: The Odd Birds Kingdom animated short! Check it out below:

The short film is a “90-second epic and whimsical opera musical about a wedding” taking place in the Odd Birds Kingdom. In it, the Queen selects her king from a line up of suitors, then makes him perform a test of endurance by holding his thumb up for 4 hours (yikes!). There’s even a quick (and innocuous) consummation of the marriage: fully clothed and slightly awkward (with the maid watching on uncomfortably) in true odd birds style. 

Arvid has succeeded remarkably in capturing a unique spirit through his lively approach to character building, quirky animation, and operatic sound design. The resulting work is so clean that it nearly belies the work it took to produce. His use of AI couldn't be farther from the typical one-prompt implementation, but rather he has pioneered its use as a professional tool for animators to use in concert with other workflows. 

Here’s a quick BTS video he released alongside the film, showing just one section of the character animation process:

Finally, it’s our pleasure to announce that Arvid has won a Merit Honor for the Oddbirds series at the ADC Awards! This is a huge honor for Arvid, and we congratulate him on the recognition.

AI Film Fest Amsterdam

We are excited to be participating in AI Film Fest Amsterdam as a main sponsor. As part of their program we will be screening two films from current artists in residence, Arvid Tappert (his final short, above) and Noah Miller (a forthcoming excerpt from his film, ZERO). We will also be sending a physical book printed by Domenec Miralles for the associated IRL exhibition taking place at Dead End Gallery! This book is a line-for-line generative interpretation of Don Quixote in a graphic novel style. It should end up being around 20 volumes long (!), all perfectbound and arranged for readers on a single shelf. You can see some of it here:

As part of their festival programming we will also be giving a 30 minute Civitai Masterclass led by our social guru Tyler Bernabe, as well as a Keynote presentation given by our CEO, Justin Maier. We are pumped to support this ambitious new festival!

Furthermore, in creative collaboration with Madhatter Foundation, the organizers behind AIFF, we are welcoming a new artist-in-residence, Alex Glocknitzer. The co-founder of Madhatter Foundation came to us with the opportunity to collaborate on a larger ethnographic project he’s been working on, of which Alex’s project will be the first iteration.

Alex Glocknitzer & Madhatter Foundation

During our initial calls with AIFF, Asad, the cofounder of Madhatter, brought up a longitudinal project he’s been working on with the Kalash people of Pakistan. An anthropologist by training, Asad has been visiting and working deeply with the Kalash for the better part of a decade. His work has been ethnographic in nature, attempting to catalog and contextualize the culture’s complex history. One of his goals as part of this larger project is to bring representations of their traditional dance ceremonies into conversation with contemporary art trends, namely, by using AI to visually re-interpret them. The ultimate goal here is to give the Kalash community an on-ramp into new digital practices and encourage sustained interest in their traditions among younger members of their community. 

So, he enlisted Alex Glocknitzer to create a vid2vid animation using one of their ceremonial dances. Alex will be working on this in his AiR Residency over the next month, with the goal of screening it at the AI Film Fest in late June. We felt that this could be a clever combination of both ethnographic research and AI social media trends (namely “the dance video”), that affords a lighthearted entry point to broader ethnographic and IP concerns. 

Alex is currently working with a videographer on the ground in Pakistan to record the source video of these ceremonial dances for this project. Taking direction from a tribal elder, he will then develop a LoRA based on specific cultural touchstones which then will be used to create the final animation. It’s important to note that any IP generated from this project will remain the property of the Kalash people, and that Alex and Asad’s goals are to bring a sense of global agency to this community through technological inclusion and representation. 

We are keenly aware that this opens up an entirely new conversation around IP rights in a field where these issues are already hotly debated. One of the primary issues Asad brought up when presenting this work is how to deal with the an ever increasing sense of loss of cultural identity among the Kalash youth. It has proven difficult for physical traditions to survive within in this new digital landscape. We look forward to navigating this new murky cultural space with both sensitivity and the ambitious hope that blending traditions with trends will encourage new excitement about old practices.

This will all happen on a fairly compressed timeline in preparation for AI Film Fest at the end of next month, but we are excited to take uncharted artistic risks in this experimental approach to ethnographic research.

Noah Miller

Noah has completed the Station Zero Orientation video, which is the training film that Tara sees in the first scenes of ZERO. Take a look!

Noah has been hard at work casting, and is moving forward with production soon!

Shinji Murakami

Shinji has run several community competitions over the past two weeks, which have yielded promising results. By leveraging our on-site bounty system, he has offered rewards for the creation of several style LoRAs that he will use for his project. After several weeks of trying to train himself, he decided to see what could be accomplished by the community at large. More from Shinji soon!

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