Steven Wilson slips into the skin of various celebrities using deceptive deep fake technology in the new visual for his latest single “Self.”
Deep fakes are made using a form of artificial intelligence called deep learning to make images of fake events.
Directed by his longtime visual collaborator, Miles Skarin, Wilson transform into actors, politicians, and musicians throughout the video, from David Bowie to Mark Zuckerberg, Scarlett Johansson, and President Joe Biden.
“‘Self’ is about our new age of narcissism and self-obsession, one in which a human race that used to look out with curiosity at the world and the stars now spends much of its time gazing at a little screen to see themselves reflected back in the mirror of social media,” Wilson said in a statement.
“In that sense, everyone now can take part in the notion of celebrity and has the potential to share their life with an invisible mass of people they will never meet. The video takes things further by exploring the idea that anyone can now project a version of ‘self’ that has no bearing on reality, and by using only well-known faces, the deception is made transparent.”
Skarin and Wilson developed the video concept through discussions about how identity has transformed in the digital age. “[Y]our face is not only your key to a lot of the media you consume, it represents who you are – or whom you pretend to be in your online personas,” he said.
“One of the most intriguing new developments in recent years has been the ability to create deep fakes, where a computer runs a machine-learning algorithm to predict what one face would look like in another’s pose. Anyone with the right tools and ability can now turn themselves into anyone else, so what does that mean for identity?”
“Self” appeared on Wilson’s most recent album, The Future Bites, which arrived at the end of January. It marks his first solo album since 2017’s To the Bone.
The Future Bites can be bought here.