Beth Coleman: Reality Was Whatever Happened. Octavia Butler AI and Other Possible Worlds — FALL 2023

Processing Process

The project and eponymous publication explore methods of “speculative AI,” staking a commitment to the experimental design of machine learning that departs from predictive applications that all too often reproduce the socio-technological status quo (or worse) to move toward a generative aesthetic of other possible worlds. Through the Butler AI project, Beth Coleman creates a series of visual works inspired by the Xenogenesis trilogy of celebrated science fiction author Octavia Butler that describes a near future where humans have environmentally destroyed the earth and the genetic merger with an “alien” race is the only path to survival. In response to questions of human/alien boundaries posed by Butler, Coleman creates a visual world that plays with an aesthetics of drift along the designated lines of human-not-human. As Coleman writes, “this
is a liberation project in all the complexity of such an endeavor, where transrormation is what one becomes.” The publication features an introduction and extended conversation with the author-artist Beth Coleman, critical essays by Mitch McEwen and Michelle Murphy, a poetic intervention by JJJJJerome Ellis, who created a new score based on the Butler AI project's images, as well as a selection of those visual works—the Alice series, the BBP landscapes, and the Oceanic series—and additional commentary by an OpenAI on the history of aesthetics, race, science, and temporality.

Beth Coleman: Reality Was Whatever Happened. Octavia Butler AI and Other Possible Worlds — Processing Process. With contributions by JJJJJerome Ellis, Beth Coleman, Michelle Murphy, and Mitch McEwen as well as a conversation between Beth Coleman and Etienne Turpin. Design by K. Verlag with Wolfgang Hückel & Katharina Tauer.



14 x 21 cm

252 pages

Full color images

Softcover with wrap-around poster, open spine, thread sewn

ISBN 978-3-947585-50-7

€ 27


The article “AI Has an Inclusivity Problem – Some Creators Are Looking to Change It,” article by Brande Victorian in Teen Vogue (30 May 2023) introduces some of the issues tackled in this forthcoming publication


Forthcoming in October 2023 – available for preorder