© Adam Cole


Kiss/Crash is an immersive, multi-screen installation by new media artist . The piece uses artificially generated imagery to explore the theme of desire and the expanding gap between real experience and artificial representation in the digital age.

Originally exhibited in London, the experience is now reproduced in digital space.


an interactive installation by Adam Cole

Kiss/Crash is a multi-screen work exploring the subject of AI-imagery and representation as well as the autobiographical themes of loneliness, desire, and intimacy in the digital age. The installation consists of three individual works in a shared space, Kiss/Crash, Me Kissing Me, and Crash Me, Gently, all of which play with augmenting, inverting, and negating the iconic image of the kiss using AI image translation.

Repurposing a classic Hollywood aesthetic through a queer lens, the piece reflects on the nature of images and places AI models within a history of image-production technologies meant to arouse and homogenize our desires. In the process, it reveals the logic of AI imagery and hints at how our relationship to reality will continue to be stretched and shaped by artificial representations at an accelerating pace.

Video of the physical installation of Kiss/Crash which took place in South-East London, winter 2023. On the central screen is the audio-visual piece Kiss/Crash, in which a car crash is turned into a kiss, projected on either side of the central screen is Me Kissing Me, a video in which the artist in a slow kiss with himself is transformed via AI, and central within the space is Crash Me, Gently, an interactive installation consisting of a television and foot pedal that allows viewers to accelerate the intensity of the kiss on the tv screen.

The piece was recognized by the Lumen Prize (2023) and has been exhibited internationally at venues such as Sheffield DocFest Alternate Realities and the +RAIN Film Festival, where it took home the Jury Prize.


In a world already drowning in images, the oncoming tidal wave of AI-generated “art” is reason for pause if not outright concern. This is not just because of the ethical questions underlying the technology, but because images are incredibly powerful: their ability to entertain, delight, and inspire is matched by their potential to misinform, control, and incite.

Susan Sontag addresses this point directly in On Photography when she describes our modern relationship to images as follows:

A society becomes modern when one of its chief activities is producing and consuming images, when images that have extraordinary powers to determine our demands upon reality, and are themselves coveted substitutes for firsthand experience, become indispensable to the health of the economy, the stability of the polity, and the pursuit of private happiness.

If we are to accept that images have these extraordinary powers, how will a technology which can generate endless images in an instant impact our economy, polity, and pursuit of happiness? And, how then, are artists expected to use this technology responsibly?

While there is no right answer, we’d benefit greatly by recognizing that this technology is revolutionary in its capabilities, but familiar in the questions it raises about the nature of images, representation and authenticity. This project attempts to continue a long tradition of artists repurposing image-making technologies, for instance by dada collage and pop art appropriation, by asking how AI image generation can be twisted on itself to reveal something true about AI-imagery and our digital culture in general.

Individual Works


In this piece, a car crash is turned into a kiss using AI image translation. Over a minute in length, the cars repeatedly crash into each other. Each time the colliding metal transforms into faces pressed together and the sound of the crash smoothly transitions into a romantic song rich in Hollywood nostalgia. As the video progresses, the impacts crescendo in speed and intensity, and the image translations become more erotic, violent and unhinged. By appropriating its aesthetic from classic Hollywood, an industry which brands itself as the dream factory, this piece relates AI-imagery to a history of image production technologies meant to incite and homogenize our desires through artificial representations.

This video is hidden for the duration of the festival (ending June 25th).

Me Kissing Me

Me Kissing Me, begins with the artist in a slow, romantic kiss with himself on a desolate black background. Over time, the couple becomes augmented and perverted by AI translation, seamlessly transforming the artist and his double into various cinematic lovers, religious idols, political celebrities, and uncanny creatures. Beneath the AI-generated romances, the underlying video of the artist kissing himself gently fades in and out, reminding the viewer of the artificial nature of the generated romance. Here the self is quite literally projected into the artificial, pointing to the way we see ourselves in fictional images and the isolating nature of that tendency.

Crash Me, Gently

Crash Me, Gently is an interactive installation, this time transforming a kiss into a crash. Here a vintage television loops a video of the artist kissing himself which transforms into a smooth Hollywood kiss. Viewers are invited to accelerate a foot pedal placed in front of the TV which increases the intensity of the images, causing them to become more cinematic, but also increasingly disjointed, pornographic, and violent. Contexts blend together as celebrities, creatures, and images of destruction take the place of the central lovers. The immediate result of pressing the pedal and being bombarded with these sensual scenes is perversely satisfying, but also questions the way desire can be aroused by representations while never truly being satisfied.

Across this collection of works, AI imagery augments, distorts, and negates familiar representations of love, pointing to the nature of images and suggesting the way artificial content will increasingly stand in for authentic experience in the future.

Closing Remarks

Susan Sontag, writing 50 years before the arrival of AI imagery, made the following call to action which seems just as relevant today, if not more so:

Images are more real than anyone could have supposed. And just because they are an unlimited resource, one that cannot be exhausted by consumerist waste, there is all the more reason to apply the conservationist remedy. If there can be a better way for the real world to include the one of images, it will require an ecology not only of real things but of images as well.

This project began with concern for the oncoming flood of artificial images, but the ultimate goal with this project is to consider the ways we can use artificial images in a self-reflective way which heightens our sense of the real. My hope is that instead of creating more visual waste, I've added to the "worthwhile ecology of images": an addition that doesn’t further drown us in the flood, but instead helps us float to the surface where we can feel the sun on our skin.

In doing so, I call on artists to reflect on how the AI tools we use in our practice today connect to the past, can be critical of the present, and might imagine a worthwhile future.

Artist Bio

Adam is an American new media artist working at the intersection of art and technology. He is currently based in the UK and recently completed his master's at the Creative Computing Institute, University of the Arts London. His work spans both the digital and physical and focuses on the various ways identity and intimacy are mediated through technology. Using an innovative computational practice, he explores these themes using microprocessors, 3D rendering engines, creative coding algorithms, and AI networks. With a keen interest in the history of images, Adam's work attempts to continue a queer tradition of twisting popular media conventions to discover unspoken double meanings.


Feel free to reach out with questions, comments, or exhibition request. Adam can be reached on , , or email .