The sculpture "Dio" was created by New York artist Ben Snell, whose work investigates materialities and ecologies of computation.
He trained his computer -- named "Dio" after the Greek God Dionysos -- to become a sculptor, using an algorithm to scan and process more than a thousand sculpture references. The resulting form -- which resembles a humanoid figure -- became the basis for the final sculpture, which was then created by grounding the computer Dio to dust and utilizing it as physical medium.
"Dio" was the first sculpture developed by a computer to ever go under the hammer. Estimated between $3.000 and $5.000, the artwork reached $6.875 at the end of the auction on Thursday.
The Phillips sale is far from being an isolated event. Over the past few months, prominent auction houses have shown a growing interest in AI-generated art. In October, Christie's caused a stir when the algorithm-created painting "Portrait of Edmond de Belamy" fetched $432.500 -- more than 40 times its high estimate.