Freeways. Palm trees. Searing sunsets. That is how Los Angeles is depicted in popular culture. But how might L.A. be imagined by artificial intelligence? Plug “Los Angeles” into a rendering bot, and chances are you’ll get the same aesthetic, since A.I. draws its imagery from what already exists. To avoid the tropes, we turned to literature, poetry and myth to see how Midjourney, the A.I.-powered rendering program, might visualize L.A.’s metaphorical character(s) instead of its literal landscape.
In this visual poem, we stitched together evocative texts about Los Angeles as a way of articulating our city’s bizarre beauty and uncanny oddities. Then we asked A.I. to imagine them. It’s as weird as you might imagine.