Location: Boston, MA, United States
Completion date: 2023
Each phrase surrounding the Love is bandana comes from poetry that compares love to something we can see: a spring among the hills, a shining sun, the watching stars. We used a generative AI model to translate these phrases into images, and arranged the results into a 19th century Chapman quilt pattern.
Inspired by the imagery of these written scenes, we asked an AI model to translate the text into images. Would a modern algorithm picture love as we do? As the poets did? We learned to collaborate with the AI generator as we worked, eventually guiding the images towards different styles and color palettes, always keeping the image content rooted in the poetry.
COLLECTING THE TEXT
We wrote a script that searches through the Gutenberg Poetry Corpus for phrases that begin with “love is like”. The resulting lines of poetry – each at least a century old – evoked both familiar and surprising scenes of love: a field of wild roses, a ship safe at harbor, a dancing ghost.
CREATING THE GRAPHIC
The process of collecting fragments of poetry and images reminded us of patchwork quilting – a craft with a long history of text, image, and recombination. Our final graphical composition is based on the 1892 Chapman Quilt, a marriage gift which was once thought to have love letters sewn directly into its fabric.
CHOOSING THE BANDANA
With many ways to be worn, bandanas are a fitting object to celebrate many kinds of love. In fact, from 19th century women’s “coquetry” to queer “handkerchief code”, bandanas have long been used as a subversive love language — allowing wearers to communicate otherwise unspoken desires through gestures, colors, folds, and placements.