Isolated Moments – Adversarial Intelligence

The next in our Isolated Moments series, aiming to keep spirits buoyed and creativity alive during COVID-19 global social isolating and quarantining measures, comes from artist and Director of Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, James Steventon.

This online workshop tests human creativity against online algorithms, and comes from an activity James originally developed for students at London Metropolitan University’s Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design.

Art market history was made recently when a work created using a Generative Adversarial Network sold at Christie’s auction house in New York for $432,500. In this workshop you get to play the adversarial part in an iterative sequence which subverts Google’s Image Search algorithm to create new, unexpected images.

Adversarial Intelligence Step 1
  • Start with a digital image. This can be of absolutely anything you like. Visit, click on the Search by Image camera icon and upload your digital image.
Adversarial Intelligence Step 2
  • From the search results, scroll down to find the “Visually similar images” provided by Google. From this selection choose and download an image that you think is most dissimilar.
Adversarial Intelligence Step 3
  • Edit this image in any basic image editing application. Photoshop is good, but more simple applications like Paint can be better because you will have to be more creative and make more bold and decisive edits.

  • Repeat the steps above by uploading your edited digital image to See how far from your original image you can develop the sequence.

    If you start with an image of a cat for example, and several images in the sequence later Google still suggests images of cats, then you need to be more creative in your edits!

Forget about literal meanings the images may possess and make edits based purely on interesting compositions and colour combinations.

How many images in your sequence can you make?

You can always pause and come back to your most recent image and continue the process at another time.

If Google cannot return any visually similar images then you win the Internet for the day.

Try making an animated GIF of the process by uploading your sequence of images to sites like:

James Steventon

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more Isolated Moments, and stay safe.