The biggest threat AI poses? A Harry Potter remake set in Balenciaga-land

The latest development in AI has dared to ask the question: What if the cast of Harry Potter had been dressed by Demna?

Machine learning will replace the workforce! Chat GPT will do away with literature! DALL·E will obliterate the artiste! And yet the apotheosis of AI-generated artwork (at least on Twitter) is a Harry Potter fan video staged within the Balenciaga-verse. The 55-second clip reimagines Snape and Voldemort as dour scene kids who say things like “What is the difference, Potter, between H&M and Balenciaga?” and “There is no good and evil. There is only Balenciaga”.

Presumably engineered with the prompt ‘Harry Potter but yassified,’ the video uses Balenciaga as cultural shorthand for its intense and moody fashion image (see Triangle of Sadness for more on that). The whole thing was created by Patreon user demonflyingfox and is really about the importance of style – Harry Potter would not have become a lodestone for millennials who like to put “Hufflepuff” in their Instagram bios had the costumes been designed by someone like Demna. It would be “cult” and probably have a season on Mubi. Instead, we have Elon Musk replying to one of the many tweets that have emerged with flame emojis, which is indicative of the kind of person whose interests have shifted from NFTs to AI replicas.

I’m constantly brainstorming which combinations and mash-ups of popular media might work,” demonflyingfox says. “I quickly realised these have to be as unexpected as possible, but still make sense. With his innocent and naive vibe, it worked surprisingly well to put Harry in an adult, cold-world scenario.” So it was out with the wonky broom-core and in with gloomy coats, angular sunglasses, and hollowed-out cheekbones. “I already put Harry in the Yakuza world so it was only a matter of time till I’d think of the fashion bubble… and the most memeable company is probably Balenciaga right now.” The effect is somewhere between 𝓗𝓪𝓻𝓻𝔂 𝓟𝓸𝓽𝓽𝓮𝓻 and a Harry Potter directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky. 

Even despite the holographic quality of most AI-generated artwork, online, our understanding of reality is becoming increasingly porous. In the next few years, there’s going to be a wholesale assault on truth and it’s going to be very dangerous and very disorientating – ie; Donald Trump being deep-faked into a police rush – but, for the most part, we’ve rolled the dice and landed on an image of the pope in a corsetted puffer jacket. “I can’t speak on my other projects just yet,” demonflyingfox says. “But what I can say is that I’m working on a sequel to the Harry Potter Balenciaga video as people are demanding more.”