At the end of the Bible lies a book that contains some of the most apocalyptic imagery known to man. In fact, the words “Apocalypse” and “Revelation” are interchangeable, and the book’s contents have baffled scholars for millennia (another word originally from Revelation).
But even if you believe none of what the book of Revelation has to say about the end of the world, the descriptions of the apocalypse are interesting. Everything from large scale angelic battles to dragons are mentioned there, and our own interpretations of those things always vary — depending on what else you believe.
But if you take out the element of human preference and influence, the interpretation of John’s words, in their truest form, speak of some scary stuff. And how better to take that scariness to the next level than to have artificial intelligence interpret John’s visions.
That’s exactly what one Instagram user did. An account by the name of @AI_revelation has been feeding AI art generators like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion the exact words of John from Revelation and posting the results on Instagram.
In an exclusive interview with Post Apocalyptic Media, the user behind the account spoke to us about the process and purpose for the account.
“I actually had the idea during church,” the anonymous account holder told us. “I’m a fan of AI art and I thought it would be interesting to see how AI would visualize the stuff in Revelation that has only lived in our imaginations for 2,000 years.”
“I wanted to capture the words of John exactly as they are in Revelation”
Some may look at the wild images and think that the user is manipulating them to fit some sort of narrative, but he says that isn’t true. “I wanted to capture the words of John exactly as they are in Revelation, without any other input from me. I use the New International Version because the wording is clearer than something like the King James Version. The only other thing I add to the prompt is usually the words ‘oil painting’ and the aspect ration to fit on Instagram easier. I want the words to be taken exactly as they are.”
The way this AI-generated art works is you enter in a string of text that describes what you want it to create (in this case, the exact words of each verse), and the AI pulls tiny pieces of thousands of different related images across the internet with similar keywords and puts them together in its own special way. Of course you can guide the AI with certain commands and other keywords, but the final product is unique and… well, pretty impressive.
If you browse through @AI_Revelation’s images, you’ll see that the results of these prompts are sometimes jaw-dropping. Language like “seven golden lampstands” is usually taken literally, with art depicting golden lampstands (although not necessarily seven of them). But other images really just defy explanation.
The account is only in the second chapter of Revelation right now, but the plans are to do the entire book one verse at a time. Yes, even the boring stuff. That’s 404 Instagram posts when it’s all said and done.