"I learned the word Unreality while reading three books by expert on Authoritarianism Timothy Snyder and I think the word speaks perfectly to this moment we are living in.
"When people wonder why my politics are the way they are and why I’m so concerned in the age of Trump, mega-conspiracy Qanon, Covid-19 denialism, surging authoritarianism, civil and environmental collapse (all of which intersect). The mechanism for keeping any cohesion at all is finding some consensus on what is true or even more important what is real.
"The societal, political and media feedback loop is on steroids and careening away from any formerly presumed trajectory. It’s literally like the 4Chan culture of constantly upping the ante with shock after shock has permeated it’s way concretely into the mainstream. Sadly the majority of the world aren’t aware of the source of it all and how reality is constantly being subverted.
"It started me thinking about creating Unreal portraits - People that don’t and possibly could never exist. One of the interesting things about the AI generated portraits is how they utilise features from people of various ethnicities and genders and arrange them in a way that conforms to some defined concept in the viewers mind. I haven’t come to any conclusion yet about what this all means other than it relates deeply to the discussions of the here and now. I’m clearly not trying to fool anyone because the portraits I’m making a kind of ridiculous but also hyper real in their texture and treatment. Perhaps the ambiguity and subjectivity of art can remain a totally healthy thing even in the age of Unreality but it has to be left open ended and without malicious intent. Punking and gaslighting the world can be funny for a minute until it’s not."
–Elliot O'Donnell AKA Askew One
Read the artist's complete statement on this piece here