Beast on a leash (2019) is an art piece created by butterflies and AI. Artist Jeroen van der Most built an AI system that tracks the flight paths of butterflies in video footage. The system then creates new shapes and movies from the tracking results. The artist curates the most interesting artworks. Beast on a leash is printed on metal. Real size is 100 x 55 centimeters.

Van der Most about the artwork:

The piece is part of a project I worked on since the beginning of 2018. What fascinated me about AI, is the thoughts it triggers about free will and the associated differences between man, animal and machine. I decided to explore that further.

This coincided with a search for more personal freedom that I also noticed on a broader level. Within our current society we need to find a new freedom, by re-balancing technology, humanity and nature. I found it interesting to explore new interactions between the three.

Finally, current creative AI methods lack ultimate creative freedom (imo). They create within the boundaries of the datasets they use. I decided to experiment with a new form of AI.

I liked the ‘Beast on a leash’ image as it keeps triggering questions I never aimed for. Some that gave me new insights: Who or what is this beast? And is it us, AI, or our illusion of freedom that’s keeping it on the leash?