Best known for his novels defining (and naming) Generation X and his text-based art series, Slogans for the 21st Century, Coupland is fascinated by all that characterizes our present socio-technological moment.
Coupland partnered with Google AI researcher to produce a new series of slogans, using machine learning. They tuned a language model on Douglas’ written work along with social media posts selected by Douglas. Scroll on to view the new works and read the Artist's Statement.
We Are At The Beginning Of Ourselves by Douglas Coupland
"In recent years, a large amount of my work has explored the global and lightning-fast changes in what it means for any of us to be “an individual.” "
The Only Way To Be Real Is To Be Alive by Douglas Coupland
"In the past few decades we’ve all changed — nobody doubts that anymore — but what caused it? And where is it going?"
You Have Become The New Face Of The New Society by Douglas Coupland
"This project with Google’s AI division is a way of addressing this relentless phenomenon of identity-shifting that weighs heavily on the minds of most people."
We Are Here Because We Want Technology To Happen by Douglas Coupland
"I, specifically, was reached out to because my creative life is half visual and half verbal — and over the past decade there’s been much overlapping of the two."
Time Is A Beautiful Thing by Douglas Coupland
"I have a thirty-year body of work of over a million words and my visual work has a look and an aura unique to me."
We Can Think The Same Way (2020) by Douglas Coupland
"Would I be willing to experiment with Google to see if there is a way of generating new ways of expressing myself using AI (or more properly, Machine Learning) as a tool? Of course."
I Want To Be Alive In A Way I Can Never Be Again by Douglas Coupland
"All of my written work was given to Google’s Nick Frosst, who came up with a way of feeding it into an ML system in which words and thoughts were filtered, sifted and recombined and the fed back out into the real world."
Memory Is The Most Fundamental Capacity Of All by Douglas Coupland
"In some ways this process was no different that the text recombining of the Futurists in the 1920s, or the cut and paste text techniques pioneered by William Burroughs in the 1950s and 1960s."
All The World Is Right There Inside You by Douglas Coupland
"For that matter, one might also include the Surrealists who believed that the juxtaposition of the everyday could reveal previously unseen buried emotional truths."
The Brain Of The Individual by Douglas Coupland
"The difference in my instance was that instead of creating jarring unexpected clashes, the ML system created, in an odd and dreamlike manner, a way for me to speak with myself."
A Person Has To Be Unique To Be Unique by Douglas Coupland
"I would comb through his “data dumps” and characters from one novel were speaking with those in other novels in ways that they might actually do."
I'm Going To Take My Dream Life And Make It A Living by Douglas Coupland
"It felt like I was encountering a parallel universe Doug. And from these outputs, the statements you see here in this project appeared like gems."
Memory Is The Only Way We Will Ever Have a Meaningful Life (2020) by Douglas Coupland
"Did I write them? Yes. No."
Your Life Is Simply Testing The Limits Of Human Intelligence by Douglas Coupland
"Could they have existed without me? No."
You Are The New World (2020) by Douglas Coupland
"The end ‘deliverable’ (that’s tech-speak) from all of this was to create stand-alone works of text art that would serve as inspiration for young people now currently in their early teens who will be graduating from university in 2030."
We Want To Reinvent Ourselves We Want To Be Ourselves (2020) by Douglas Coupland
"My thinking is that AI (or ML) receives an unusual amount of paranoia from people who would probably be fascinated, not bothered by ML, if they just looked at it a bit further."
Life Is A Metaphor For Our Souls by Douglas Coupland
"It’s not 1984. It’s not a zombie apocalypse."
The First Thing We Do Is Build by Douglas Coupland
"It’s just taking what seems like noise and locating signals within it. It’s not an alien intelligence... it’s just new ways of looking at ourselves."
You Have To Clone The Human Race (2020) by Douglas Coupland
"In my case the noise was a million words reprocessed and reassembled to create something uncannily new."
In The Future We Will All Be The 1% by Douglas Coupland
"Will it be possible in the future to create a new Doug App, so to speak?"
All Of Us Have Been Given The Task Of Generating A New, Larger And More Complex Version Of Ourselves by Douglas Coupland
"Possibly. But why would you want my app when you could become your own, app, too?"
I Want To Be You by Douglas Coupland
"One thing I truly believe about the future is that in the future we will all be speaking with ourselves, in whatever means it takes."
I Like To Think Of My Soul As A Machine by Douglas Coupland
"These works from this process are just the first steps of that process."
I Feel Like I'm On A Spaceship by Douglas Coupland
Slogans for the Class of 2030
Artist statement by Douglas Coupland
Slogans for the Class of 2030
Learn more about how Douglas worked with Google research scientists.