“Future in a Jar” is a series of digital images co-created by a human artist and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). Each image presents a scenery of a futuristic city in an underwater world of jar. The concept of the “jar” is a metaphor to disclose human’s shrinking living space on Earth, but it also represents a fantasy world of living. The project’s ideas are rooted in our concern about how environmental issues could affect people’s lives in the future. Technology may advance to the point of allowing people to build such complex cities fully underwater, but they are still facing the fate of living in a jar. Using the characteristics of artificial intelligence, which incorporate a large database of human creativity, this work articulates a future we cannot predict. Dystopian or utopian? That is the question for the future.
Mingyong Cheng (Beijing, China), currently based in California, US, is a computational and interdisciplinary artist who focuses on everyday experiences and objects to tease out what is uncanny, ironic, and overlooked about our shared reality. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in Art Practice with a specialization in Interdisciplinary Environmental Research at the University of California San Diego, where she is studying and creating research-based art projects around marine life with an interdisciplinary group and explores the intersection of arts and science. Mingyong earned her MFA degree in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University in 2021, where she developed her artistic approach through her undergraduate studies in documentary film to incorporate a more conceptual approach to the genre with new media technology includes approaches as diverse as AI generated arts, AR experience, 3D virtual experience, and interactive installation. Her recent projects explore this premise in the context of the Ocean Noise, Water’s Imagery, and COVID-19 pandemic.