CoLab Work Session / State of the Art / Showcasing TechArt

CoLab Work Session over Chai + Chat

During our Chai and Chat this morning, Smruthi, Jens and I discussed our ideas about nature, the universe and everything.

Initial Ideas

  • If nature could talk to us, what would it say?
  • Interactive fortune teller game, biblical/mythological language using scientific facts.
  • Text-driven interface.
  • Video – Talking Heads / Runway ML (First Order Motion Model)
  • We would like audiences to see themselves in second place to nature.
  • Programming help from Hasan? Other Fellows?
  • Dialogue between human and machine. A film where one is asking the AI in from of a search engine and the search results are Talking heads that answer what the AI / human dialogue brings up.
  • The search engine as a concept for capturing our sense of curiosity and answers to questions, fuelled by the invisible capitalist machine that is the internet. We could replace the search engine with answers from nature itself.
  • The philosophers of the past asking questions of today.
  • Dead philosophers talking about today’s concerns. Static paintings coming to life. If those philosophers were alive today, what would they be concerned about?
  • Can we get our talking heads to talk to us?

Inputs for Talking Heads:

  • AI Voices (Audio)
  • Quotes from Philosophers (Text)
  • Paintings/Still Images (Images)

State of the Art

Today Hasan showed us loads more tools to use, like the one below where you can simply ‘paint’ some colours and shapes and it creates the realistic image of the sea to the right hand side.

AI and machine learning are such crazy technologies that have been in the making for hundreds of years. AI is integrated into our everyday lives, yet we still don’t even notice it. With the likes of Alexa and Siri, we are surrounded by AI, we just have to take the time to stop and notice it. We are all guinea pigs with these new tools and technologies and thats what these technologies are to us – tools.

Now, artists are using it in their work. At what point does the artist and AI become one, or replace one or the other? Can we replace the experience of seeing a physical artwork in front of our eyes? What is the different between experiencing a real exhibition and an online one through a screen? Is the physicality lost?

Can machines be creative? was the main question of Hasan’s final lecture today. This sparked a debate amongst many of us Fellows and there was no concrete answer, because many of us said that at first we must define creativity, before we can begin to explore this question. How do we measure creativity?

As it was Hasan’s last lecture (sad face), we all gave him feedback, a clap and a thank you note.

My thoughts about how Hasan’s lectures have provided a well-needed context behind the technology that I choose to use in my practice.

Dialogue Event: Showcasing TechArt

Irini (Artistic Director, Future Everything) talking us through her practice

Here are the highlights of my notes from the event:

  • Artificially Intelligent > Fantasy.
  • Human-machine relationships.
  • Anatomy of an AI system by Vladen Joler and Kate Crawford reflects critial conversations about how these systems influence our thoughts and society.
  • Book to read: Algorithms of Opposition.
  • Anna Ridler – hidden labels/categorising in datasets.
  • Cross-sector conversations.
  • The relationship between technology and society.
  • Digital humans.
  • The hyperlocal is the hyper global. (This resonates with me in this pandemic-centred world).
  • DIY TechArt in India.
  • Lo-fi Tech.
  • Repair culture.
  • The environmental impact of technology.
  • Whilst making tech-art, think about how they’ll be archived for future generations to experience.
On the panel alongside other Fellows for the Dialog: Showcasing TechArt Public Event

My questions to the panel were:

  • Do you address inequality in TechArt and is so, how are you doing this? (eg: encouraging women and non-binary artists to be involved).
  • What other methods of old media have you used to engage audiences that don’t have access to, or use the internet? (This addresses issues of privilege and class).

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