Aspen Art Gallery: Artist explores whether human ideas matter in an AI world

Aspen Art Gallery: Artist explores whether human ideas matter in an AI world
Artist Sebastian Errazuriz’s exhibition ‘100% Human’ is on display at the Simon Miccio Gallery until April 19.
Dale Mitchell/Summit Photo and Film

The statues will fall. Technology is coming for us. Humans generate new ideas while artificial intelligence replicates what already exists, according to designer and artist Sebastian Errazuriz, a much grander variation of the functional form of our culture’s universality.

As his new exhibition reaffirms, “100% Human Ideas,” which opened February 14 at the Simon Miccio Gallery and runs through April 19, we needn’t fear that human ideas are going anywhere.

The exhibited works can be full of people and insiders. Despite the commercial proliferation of AI-generated interpretations of industry methods and products, human ideas are irreplaceable.

“The show is called ‘100% Human Idea’ because everything is derivative of others; it is very difficult to find an original idea”, said Errazuriz. “HE is perhaps the biggest issue of our time.”

Known for his works in public art, antiques, cabinet design, objets d’art and having made a dynamic impact on the sculptural world, the artist is neither threatened nor intimidated by technology. There is a delicacy to his works that represents his recognition of the symbiotic nature of the relationship humans have with machines.

Simon Miccio in front of a part of Sebastian Errazuriz.
Courtesy Dale Mitchell, Summit Photography and Film/Photos

Indeed, it uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality in its design process. Peel back the layers and you will find the humanity of an educator.

“I try to reimagine everything with the sole purpose that the new generations don’t get stuck by the structures, the images, the paradigms they get, but see that everything can be questioned,” he said. “And it’s their responsibility to continue to question everything.”

Born in Chile, Errazuriz and his parents immigrated to London at age 5, where they lived until age 14 while his father, who designed the art curriculum for Chile’s entire education system, completed his Ph.D.

This transnational education in art equipped him with a position that extended beyond his talent.

“The only way I can contribute to a more universal way of storytelling is to make it accurate. I try to distill things down to an emoji, the simplest version of each, to the icon of what it represents. It makes sense to try to create works that are known worldwide,” he said.

Likewise, he has always pushed against the limits of creativity.

“I hate that since I was a kid, library books were divided into architecture rows, design rows, art rows,” he said. “I think knowledge is much more fluid than that. A designer can benefit from understanding the language of art, and artists can benefit from understanding the language of design.”

A viewer enjoys the work of Sebastian Errazuriz at Aspen’s Simon Miccio Gallery.
Courtesy Dale Mitchell, Summit Photography and Film/Photos

Playing weekends with his father interpreting works in popular collections, he participated in art competitions upon his return to Chile before choosing to study design, seeing in the discipline a wealth of techniques and technologies that could benefit from its execution.

It was unheard of and looked down upon to wear multiple hats. However, once in design school, he began mixing art with his studies because he “missed the existential and emotional aspects of the arts.”

At 26, in addition to running his studio, he had his own television and radio shows, newspaper column, and notable appointments teaching at universities and advising the former president of Chile. He moved to the United States to earn his MFA from New York University before building his own studio more than a decade ago.

His practice calls on viewers to reconsider their preconceived assumptions. The works feel like another realm of art, and this show represents the first time he’s exhibited many of them, including a bench of Confederate iconography and a new version of the Spring Shit Show chandelier.

“Everything should provoke a little wonder and thought,” he said. “It was great to see the community proud to support Simon Miccio and something we need more of.”

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