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Panel : State of the AI-Art

The panel is chaired by Ernest Edmonds, with discussants from the day's keynotes and talks. As well as picking up on the issues related to the creative processes, curatorial considerations and audience engagement strategies, this is an opportunity for all conference participants to ask burning questions that may have arisen during the day or previously.  These can also be submitted ahead of time via @ArtAIFestival or Instagram ArtAIFestLeics and using hashtag #ARTAI2019 and we'll do our best to feed them into the discussion process.


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Keynote : Jake Elwes – Creative Dilemmas

Speaker : Jake Elwes

The creative possibilities opened up by machine learning and the implications of generating new original content from an algorithm - which has learnt from vast amounts of data using generative neural networks - seem conceptually extraordinary. Early experiments included generating images of electric sheep, clouds in skies, and tricking a censoring algorithm into producing synthetic pornography. I went on to ask how far I could push an algorithm trained to generate humanly recognisable images into abstracted and unpredictable outcomes (Latent Space 2017), setting off language and image generating models to have conversations (Closed Loop 2017), and taking neural birds back into a natural landscape (Cusp 2019). 

This rapidly developing field raises many issues, from old philosophical, political and ethical questions to creative dilemmas. What happens to artistic agency when working with artificial intelligence? What does it mean to collaborate creatively with an unpredictable algorithm, learning from datasets unsupervised, and how does this fit into a history of conceptual and systems art?
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Keynote : Mario Klingemann – Interstitial Space 2019

Mario Klingemann is an artist and describes himself as a skeptic with a curious mind. He taught himself programming in the early 1980s and has been creating algorithms that are able to surprise and to show almost autonomous creative behaviour ever since.

In this Keynote, he introduces his latest work, Interstitial Space 2019, which creates an open feedback loop between a portrait-generating adversarial neural network and the audience. Through a camera the system observes in real-time its own output that is being projected on to the walls and tries to identify facial features. These features get reinterpreted by a GAN (generative adversarial network) that has been trained on portraiture and become part of new output.

The noise and misinterpretation introduced by the neural models involved in this process cause the system to never repeat itself but at the same time reveal the nature of the data it has been trained on.  By stepping into the gap between the camera and the projection, the spectator becomes part of the cycle and can attempt to take control over the emergent visuals.

As part of the ART AI Festival 2019 artwork trail, Klingemann's Interstitial Space 2019 is on display at Phoenix, 4 Midland Street, Leicester, LE1 1TG - download map.

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Keynote : Ernest Edmonds – Art and Influence: Learning in Augmented Worlds

Speaker : Ernest Edmonds

AI is important in interactive art. The art reaches beyond the computer game paradigm to explore lifelong evolution and the building of relationships. Working in a distributed connected world a new art of evolving and connected systems is emerging. The worlds in which these new art forms exist extends to virtual and augmented realities and the physical environment. I begin by describing my “Shaping Form” series of dynamic works. Images are generated using rules that determine the colours, the patterns and the timing. A camera captures movement that changes the generative rules. The future behaviour of each “Shaping Form” evolves as a result of its interaction with the world. But what do we really mean here by interaction? With the evolving nature of these works, the words influence, stimulus or interchange are more appropriate than interaction. I show how the methods used have been extended to make a distributed sets of interactive nodes form a networked art system. The community made up of the work’s distributed audience collectively influence the progress and development of the art system. Finally, AI describes how the concept is being extended again, this time into a dynamic distributed augmented reality world.

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