Ever since Google DeepDream captivated the world with colourful puppyslugs, more and more artistic projects incorporating the techniques of artificial intelligence have been making their way into the mainstream. Artists and creative technologists are experimenting with these tools to generate animations in the style of their ink drawings (Anna Ridler), to explore their artistic qualities and limitations (Mario Klingemann) and to understand how human actors can give meaning to AI-written playscripts (Sunspring). Aside from applying artificial intelligence as a tool, other artists are thinking more broadly about the implications of living in a world heavily influenced by AI technology, whether that’s about our malfunctioning technological inventions (Zach Blas) or the future possibilities of satellite AIs becoming artists (Lawrence Lek). Working with, or thinking about intelligent machines has become the artistic preoccupation of the 21st century.
In fact, Leicester has a long history with the role of AI in art – De Montfort’s Ernest Edmonds (Director of Institute of Creative Technologies) is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field, developing a form of computer-arts practice over 50 years ago! Indeed, some of that work is being showcased in Leicester later in May at the Computer Arts Society’s 50 Years celebration (http://computer-arts-society.com/cas50). His and other artists in this domain, including some of Poltronieri’s work (see installation at Highcross for our festival) can be also seen in the digital collection at the V&A in London.